Former ERDC employee honored for promoting science one student at a time

Published Oct. 23, 2012


23 Oct. 2012

Public Affairs Office

VICKSBURG, Miss.—Ruth Hidalgo-Hernandez’s belief that mentoring, guidance, and the sharing of her experiences and knowledge can inspire others will be honored during the Salute to our STEM Military and Civilian Heroes Dinner at the HENAAC™ national convention in October.

Hildalgo-Hernandez, a former ERDC employee, now a doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, will be honored for her contributions to the Hispanic technical community as a role model and mentor.

As a member of the 2012 Luminary class of 18 extraordinary Hispanic engineers and scientists from civilian, government and military sectors, she joins an elite group of individuals who are leading collaboration and research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A Hispanic technical community leader and role model, the former research mechanical engineer mentors students working at ERDC to help them reach their goals.

She began at ERDC in 2008 under the MUST (Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology) program for scholars.  While at the Geotechnical and Structure’s Concrete and Materials Branch, she has mentored four summer interns from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), assisting them with their internship research projects.  Hildalgo-Hernandez also mentored two UPRM graduate students by providing guidance and direction to help them achieve their career goals and research objectives.

Mentoring was a sideline for the young researcher.  In the laboratory, her fundamental research results made a significant impact on improving our understanding of potential environmental impacts of nanomaterials and the structural safety of vintage structures, which could result in saving lives.  Her research in concrete and steel construction materials supported the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works and military engineer missions.

Additionally, Hildalgo-Hernandez created an academic partnership with her former master’s degree adviser, Professor Suárez, to sponsor new research ideas in composite materials. This collaboration has created new internship and scholarship opportunities for UPRM students.

Learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ STEM program at, and the ERDC STEM program at