ExxonMobil created the ExxonMobil Scholarship for Research in 2011 as an opportunity for students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields to receive funding to complete their undergraduate thesis at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Administered by IIE, The program not only provides financial support for recipients, but also a series of leadership training, conversation clubs with native English speakers, and ongoing mentorship with an ExxonMobil executive.
Among the first generation of laureates is Jessica Lilian Aceves Flores. Before she received the ExxonMobil scholarship, Jessica’s higher education was purely related to engineering, her passion; however, during the program Jessica participated in discussions that she says helped to enlarge her perspective on the world. She met other scientists and scholars who had broadened their minds by embracing studies of the humanities. From a presentation of World War II to a comprehensive explanation of U.S. segregation from the perspective of an African American citizen of New York, Jessica learned about more than just engineering.
The scholarship also offers a mentorship with a successful ExxonMobil executive. Jessica’s mentor gave her more than just professional advice: her advisor also pushed and inspired her to finish her undergraduate research thesis, Methodology to estimate the capacity of a container port terminal. Apart from providing encouragement and regular check-ins, her mentor even arranged for Jessica to visit the ExxonMobil train freight station to help her complete her thesis which she successfully defended in 2012.
Upon the completion of her degree, Jessica wanted to enter the transport-engineering field and specialize in freight transportation. The experiences she gained from the ExxonMobil scholarship helped her move towards this goal: after graduating, she was admitted to the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands where she is pursuing her master’s degree and working on exciting projects such as designing a new container terminal for the Port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe.
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