Civil Engineering Student Shares in Nobel Peace Prize

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When President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he donated the money from the prize to several charities. One of these was the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which used the money to fund the Obama Scholars program. One of the 12 winners of the new scholarships was Lee College of Engineering junior Jenny Salgado.

“At first I didn’t realize the money came from the Nobel Prize,” Salgado said. “I just thought the scholarship was named for President Obama. I was really excited when I found out how special it was.”

A civil engineering major, Salgado is originally from Columbia, South America. She is vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at UNC Charlotte and is the first person in her family to go to college in the United States.

The two-year $2,500-a-year scholarship is a big help financially, Salgado said. “It’s helped a lot in paying for this semester. As classes are getting harder and more time-consuming, I don’t have as much time for a job. And now I don’t have to worry quite as much about how I’m going to pay for next semester.”

Salgado has done well in her academic career at UNC Charlotte and has taken advantage of several opportunities outside the classroom. In the summer of 2011, she interned with Boeing in Seattle, learning about airplanes and working on the Boeing 787 interior. In fall 2011, she was in a cooperative program with the hydro department at Duke Energy.

“I’m in a downtown Charlotte office with Duke, but get to go to hydro plants all over the Carolinas,” she said. “I’m learning a good mix of civil engineering and project management skills. And I’m learning that the main thing employers are looking for is good problem solvers and good time managers.”

When she graduates, Salgado said she’d like to put her civil engineering skills to use working on project in third world countries.