Campus Life

Texas A&M McAllen Professor Teaches Two Generations of Rio Grande Valley Engineers

Michael Davila ‘23, who graduated this week, was instructed by the same professor who taught his mom back in 1994.
By Yahaira Hernandez, Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen December 14, 2023

Michael Davila '23 and Professor Andrew Conkey at a graduation celebration at the McAllen campus
Michael Davila ’23 and Professor Andrew Conkey at a graduation celebration at the McAllen campus

Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen


It’s a proud tradition among many Aggies to continue a family legacy at Texas A&M University. For the Davila family of Harlingen, Texas, that legacy was solidified with the graduation of Michael Davila ‘23 from the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen (HECM).

With Michael Davila’s graduation, nearly the entire Davila family has graduated from The Texas A&M University System with engineering degrees. He is quick to credit his parents for his passion in the field. His father was an electrical engineer, and his mother was a chemical engineer, both graduates from Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK).

“As a child, I would ask my mom to print out various articles to read on topics such as robotics, electricity and the periodic table of elements,” Davila said.

Another influence on his career path was his brother, Samuel “Sammy” Davila ’21, who was part of the McAllen center’s pioneer class that started in 2017 at South Texas College. Michael Davila decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and pursue an engineering degree at the HECM.

Recently, the HECM hosted a graduation celebration to honor graduates prior to walking the stage at Reed Arena in College Station for their commencement. The Davila family was in attendance to celebrate Michael earning a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary engineering.

The event included an appearance by Dr. Andrew Conkey, an interdisciplinary engineering professor at the HECM who is linked to two generations of the Davila family. In 1994, he taught for the Mechanical Engineering Department at TAMUK, and among his students was Michael Davila’s mother, Martha Davila ‘94. Since then, Conkey has taught at four Texas A&M system campuses and continues to educate students from the Rio Grande Valley, including Samuel and Michael.

Conkey’s attendance at the HECM’s Graduation Celebration gave the Davila family a stronger connection to Texas A&M University.

“It was exciting to find out I had Michael and Sammy’s mom in one of my courses back at TAMUK. It was one of those moments you just take in awe,” said Conkey. “For as long as I have been teaching, I knew that it might happen to have a family connection in the classroom but now that it has happened, it’s wonderful. And upon discussions at Michaels’ graduation event, we confirmed that I was at Martha’s graduation, too, which adds another dimension to this celebration. As big as South Texas is, it is amazing how often you find a very small degree of separation between people and events. The Davila family’s commitment to education and professional development is to be commended.”

Michael said he is proud to be among a family of engineers and excited to begin his career. He has received multiple job offers and is weighing his options. His goals are to obtain his professional engineering license and contribute to the industry.

“I want to remain up-to-date and never stop learning. I also hope to help the Rio Grande Valley expand educational opportunities for future STEM majors,” he said.

Media contact: Yahaira Hernandez,

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