SEEd Scholarship Winner

Christian Garza

How does Christian define energy? “Energy is the measure of work to exert a force causing some linear or thermal change, it is what powers the world and every system that is capable of work.”

San Antonio native, Christian Garza, grew up riding dirt bikes, watching Animal Planet, and playing outside. Like many children, he didn’t think about energy too much as a young boy. The ease of switching the lights on and off whenever he liked made the powers that illuminated his home seem abundant. Most of the time, as far as he was concerned, energy was just that great feeling he got after eating a chocolate bar. 

However, working on mechanical projects with his dad and helping care for his family garden influenced him greatly. He began to pay closer attention to his surroundings. The hot summer months meant that his family was more cautious about saving energy to avoid excessively high bills. Additionally, the better air quality and lower energy costs in San Antonio compared to larger cities like Los Angeles prompted him to take a closer look at how energy can impact a community. 

Soon he began researching to learn more about the opportunities in the energy sector. The diversity in career paths came as no surprise to him. Thanks to his father’s projects, he developed a more advanced knowledge of the combustion and electrical systems requirements, inspiring him to pursue a career in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas in San Antonio. 

Increasing energy consumption due to extreme weather and rising energy prices is a concern for many communities. Stressed power grids and rolling blackouts demonstrate the vital need for innovative minds hungry to make a difference. As a mechanical engineer, Christian hopes to help revolutionize the industry and maximize the potential of our energy resources through efficient and sustainable practices. 

After learning about the Smart Energy Education scholarship through the San Antonio Area Foundation, Christian resonated with SEE’s principles. He believes energy education is essential to building a more sustainable energy future. Therefore, an organization that promotes opportunities for engineers and energy professionals to inspire and create wiser energy consumers immediately caught his attention. He elaborates, “We only have one place to call home, and it is in our best interest to take care of our planet.” 

With support from Smart Energy Education, Christian feels relieved of some of the financial burdens of a college degree. He now has more time to focus on his academics and is eager to get involved in the internship and mentorship opportunities promoted by SEE and it’s amazing partners like CPS Energy and Itron. Having this type of support is especially important because “in engineering, learning from proven, experienced industry leaders is crucial.” 

Elon Musk and Carrol Shelby have been huge inspirations to Chrisitan. As leaders and pioneers who consistently push the envelope regarding what the world thinks is possible, Christian aims to demonstrate the same innovation and hard work when accomplishing his goals. The energy sector has become one of his biggest interests. If he could change anything about it, it would be to have a greater emphasis on protecting the environment. 

During his career, Christian would love to be involved in the design process of a revolutionary, efficient energy process. His ideal situation would be to work in solar or nuclear energy. As a UTSA engineer, he plans to accomplish this while making energy more efficient, affordable, and reliable. Eventually, Christian would like to become the founder of a successful company that holds green energy, sustainability, and energy education as its core values. 

The Smart Energy Education Scholarship is funded by CPS Energy and Itron, Inc., and managed by the San Antonio Area Foundation.