EPCC professor earns national STEM award, recognized for education and involvement in Hispanic community

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Christian Servin has been teaching computer science at EPCC since 2008. Photo courtesy of EPCC.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An associate professor of computer science at El Paso Community College was recognized for serving as a role model in STEM and connecting with professionals in the Hispanic community, awarded by Great Minds in Stem (GMiS).

Christian Servin was awarded a 2021 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) Award during the virtual annual conferenced hosted by GMiS. The HENAAC Award recognizes an educator’s ability to mentor students to ensure their retention and graduation as well as involvement to the Hispanic and other underserved communities and the recruiting of more Hispanic students to fields in STEM.

Servin has assisted, motivated, and encouraged a wide range of diverse students including early college high school, transfer, military students and working parents, to pursue a higher educational degree. Since 2008, he has helped more than 600 students to complete their associate’s degree in computer science, and more than 200 students have successfully transferred to regional four-year institutions such as UTEP and NMSU. More than 23 of these students have completed their master’s degree in software engineering with a concentration in cybersecurity, and currently, two of his former students are pursuing their Ph.D. degree.

“Dr. Servin is an incredible mentor and role model for our students. He inspires students to stay in class, focus on their goals and continue on their educational pathway,” said Steve Smith, vice president of Instruction and Workforce Education at EPCC.   

At EPCC, Servin strengthened the computer science degree by designing, implementing, and aligning the curriculum with nationally-recognized standards and guidelines as well as influenced nationwide curricula.

Servin’s selection as a top engineer and scientist from the Hispanic community exemplifies how leaders in the Hispanic community are stepping up in leadership roles.

“EPCC is nationally recognized for not only enrolling Latino students but also for graduating them. This is possible because of the powerful impact of professors like Dr. Servin who not only guide our students in the classroom but also serve as inspirational role models for success,” said EPCC President William Serrata. “We congratulate Dr. Servin on being a recipient of the 2021 HENAAC Award and are proud of all he does to ensure today’s students are prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders.” 

Before Servin studied computer science, he began his college career studying music composition in piano and went on to study philosophy with a focus in existential problems and analytic philosophy. Servin recognized a connection between these three fields of study and noticed that many existential problems require mathematical formalism and have critical impacts on modern day society.

This convergence of knowledge and experiences made Servin a dynamic and engaging professor, EPCC officials said.

“I am truly honored to receive such outstanding national recognition primarily for representing my educational efforts. I am thrilled to know the impact I have made in our community is noticed nationally and compared with similar efforts that top scientists and engineers do in America. I have no words to thank family, mentors, friends, and colleagues for their unconditional support and encouragement through all these years,” Servin said. “I am delighted to know that the work done at El Paso Community College will be used as a role model for the rest of the community colleges in America.” 

Throughout his career, Servin has been working diligently to redefine the concept of “hacker”, meaning his objective as an educator is to recognize, train, and educate future ethical “hackers” and problem-solvers for society.

“As a role model, my responsibility is to define the frontier of ethical correctness and reliable computing by contextualizing social justice into computing by developing activists in the classroom that represent society, the community, and humanity for the social good,” Servin said. “I educate the future Ethical Hackers that will define the frontiers of world-class computing solutions.” 

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