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At BEYA, the Student Leadership Award recognizes an undergraduate or graduate student with an accomplished academic record and a proven desire to help others to succeed. This year, the award went to Wesley Combs, a senior at the University of Houston majoring in mechanical engineering, and set to graduate in spring 2021.

“I first met Wesley as he was making his transition from Houston Community College to the University of Houston,” said Dr. Jerrod Henderson of the University of Houston, winner of the 2021 Educational Leadership Award. “From the moment I met him, I could tell that he was a special student. Even prior to enrolling at UH he was working as a summer research intern for a National Science Foundation-funded project. As the director of the Program for Masters In Engineering Studies (PROMES), I meet hundreds of students each year and Wesley is among the brightest.”

The Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES) was established at the University of Houston for the recruitment, retention, and academic development of Hispanic, African American, and Native American students in the Cullen College of Engineering. Today PROMES is open to all students in the college, and the mission is to provide a positive learning environment that supports the needs of undergraduate students.

Wesley has gained distinction as a University of Houston Tier One Scholar. He is a recipient of a Texas Society of Professional Engineers scholarship, the David and Jean Wiley Foundation scholarship (2016-2018), and the 2018 NSBE Academic Award of Excellence. In 2020, he received an award for winning the Student Research Competition Research at BEYA.

Wesley is committed to the broader impact of engineering on society. He has volunteered for numerous activities with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has also completed three professional internships – with Boeing, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Verizon.

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