Bullen Scholarship Continues to Impact Texas Tech Engineering Students

Gibson, Harper among latest students to benefit from 30-year-old electrical and computer engineering endowment.

Frank Mitchell’s $1.7 million gift to the C.V. Bullen scholarship endowment could change how power is transmitted from safe and sustainable energy sources, spark the minds of future engineers and lead to discoveries we can’t yet imagine.

When Mitchell graduated from Texas Tech decades ago — influenced by Bullen, who led the electrical engineering department from 1932–1960 — no one knew he would become a spy, listening to America’s enemies.

No one knows yet what Warner Gibson could do with energy or Adam Harper with teaching.

Both are students in Texas Tech’s Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. Both have scholarships from the Bullen endowment that Mitchell dramatically boosted with a gift from his will.

The endowment is a tribute to Bullen as an educator and a motivator. For more than 30 years, it’s allowed the college to attract some of the best electrical and computer engineering students to Texas Tech.

Students said they were honored to receive the scholarship. They are enthusiastic about their engineering fields, and when asked about their aspirations, they were eager to explain how their work could positively impact the people around them.

“I am happy that they chose me,” said Gibson, “I have fallen in love with this degree.”

Gibson plans to graduate in December with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and a minor in wind energy. He wants to focus on power transmission derived from safe and sustainable energy sources.

He credits his grandfather, who was an electrical engineer, with influencing his path with the stories he told his grandson about his work. Gibson recalls a day when his grandfather explained how a blown fuse caused the loss of power in downtown Houston.

“This boggled my mind,” he said.

His grandfather’s tools also captured his imagination when he was younger and now, he said, “Studying here has fanned the flames.”

Gibson, from Sunnyvale, Texas, is working at an internship with Oncor Electric Delivery Company this summer and hopes to participate in undergraduate research this fall.

His vision for the future? He would like to see more sustainable energy in addition to wind energy, and he believes a safer version of nuclear energy — moving away from fission reactions to fusion reactions — could provide that source of power.

Adam Harper, who came to Texas Tech from the nearby West Texas town of Sudan, expects to graduate next May with a bachelor of science in computer engineering.

The scholarship “allows me to focus more on classwork and less on income,” he said.

“I like the critical thinking part of computer science and finding the best way to approach it,” Harper said, “and then to be specific and precise in writing the code. I’ve taught my two younger brothers to code.

“I also helped the Sudan High School team prepare for UIL,” he said, referring to the University Interscholastic League, which oversees extracurricular academic, athletic and music contests in Texas public schools.

Harper believes he can make a great impact by teaching.

“I’d like to see students learn and enjoy learning,” he said.

His computer science and math teacher in Sudan greatly influenced his plans to teach. “I had some great teachers in high school: computer science, math, English and band,” quickly pointing out the importance of music in promoting teamwork.

It’s a legacy that Mitchell and his mentor Bullen would likely be proud to see carried on to the next generation.

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