“In my advising, I aim to celebrate student enthusiasm and jointly discuss plans to overcome the challenges they face. Having advised several students from the start of their studies to graduation, including overcoming important difficulties along the way, has been one of my most rewarding experiences as a faculty member.”
The College of Engineering recently presented Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez with the 2020-21 George Blessis Advising Award.
The award, announced during the College’s spring faculty meeting, recognizes faculty members who consistently and willingly give their time and effort to advising, counseling and mentoring students and assisting student groups. It is also a continuing memorial to George H. Blessis, a faculty member whose interest in undergraduate education and advising serves as an example today. Dr. Blessis was a faculty member in Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering until his untimely death in 1987.
Candidates are nominated by their department and are selected by the College of Engineering Teaching and Advising Awards Committee. In addition to the prestige, the award carries a financial stipend.
Garcia Menendez is an assistant professor with expertise in air quality modeling. He joined the CCEE department in 2016 and, in addition to teaching multiple undergraduate courses, he has served as an academic advisor for approximately 20 undergraduate students each semester, and as a research advisor for several undergraduate student research assistants.
“I have advised students from multiple backgrounds and majors, who are living through very different college experiences. The interactions have taught me the value of listening to each student carefully to understand their motivations and worries. Beyond simply ensuring that curriculum requirements are being met, I have learned the best advising comes from appreciating each advisee’s individual interests and supporting their own informed decision-making.” Fernando Garcia Menendez
Garcia Menendez is also passionate about contributing to initiatives that seek to increase participation of underrepresented groups in higher education and STEM fields. He created a program at NC State called Future Ingenieros to introduce Latinx high school student to engineering and encourage enrollment in engineering studies. This program was offered in partnership with the Juntos Summer Academy at NC State. “I have been encouraged to see Dr. Garcia Menendez continue efforts to serve our Latino students and many times go the extra mile by connecting with the student after the academy and continue his mentorship,” said Diana Urieta, Senior Director of the Juntos .
The department is proud of the commitment of Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez and offers a heartfelt congratulations for the well-deserved award!