Andrea Chavez, B.S. ASE 2004, has been selected to receive a 2016 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award. The award, inaugurated by Texas Exes the in 1980, recognizes young alumni who are distinguished in their fields and have demonstrated a continuing interest in The University of Texas and the Texas Exes. A recipient must be under the age of 40 to receive the award.
Chavez is an aerospace engineer with Bell Helicopter Textron. She has worked for more than 12 years at the company, primarily in research and development with a background in helicopter propulsion and drive systems.
Currently, Chavez is program manager for a partnership between Bell and the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate to research the future of advanced rotorcraft drive systems. Together with other members of the program, she holds patents for a non-metallic debris monitor and a helicopter driveshaft frictional damper. In 2015, she won the American Helicopter Society (AHS) international Francois-Xavier Bagnoud award.
She is very excited to receive this honor and said that the UT engineering curriculum prepared her well for the industry.
“I believe the UT engineering curriculum more than prepared me for the industry. Although a lot of what I have worked on I learned on the job, the foundation and principles of the work stems from the curriculum at UT,” Chavez said. “Engineering was hard for me, but I enjoyed the studies and had the desire to succeed. Knowing how hard it was for me to earn my degree gives me more confidence when problem solving and challenging myself.”
Last fall, Chavez returned to campus to speak to aerospace engineering students about her career and has plans to continue working with our students in the near future. She also volunteers for many organizations, including Expanding Your Horizons and the Junior League of Arlington.
She also wants to make an impression on her son and is proud to claim UT Austin as her alma mater.
“This is an exciting time to receive the award. My son, Jack, is three years old, and the hope is to make an impression with him (even at this age!) about the importance of getting an education and staying connected with your alma mater. I am proud of the fact that my alma mater is The University of Texas at Austin. I am doing my part to plant the desire for him to one day say the same thing.”
Chavez will be recognized for the award this fall during the UTEP game on the UT Austin campus.