At just 26 years old, Ralph Sinno has begun a successful career and found a way to unite his passions in a way that will “pay it forward” for his fellow Tigers.

The 2011 LSU engineering graduate loves his alma mater and his profession, both honored through his recent establishment of the Ralph R. Sinno Civil and Petroleum Engineering Scholarship.

“Engineering is a great tool to equip young people to make advances for not only themselves, but for society as well,” he explained. “Working for a multi-national company whose fingers are in over 80 countries across the globe, one begins to understand what it takes to compete on the international level.”

Leveraging Halliburton’s employee matching gift program, Sinno created the $1,500 scholarship last year with hopes to eventually endow the gift. “Education is one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your life and has the highest potential for return,” he said, adding that he recognizes many people aren’t afforded the opportunity for higher education. “This is a way to make sure certain people who would otherwise drop out or didn’t have the means to do it on their own can still stay in school and graduate.”

Both of his parents work in education, and Sinno’s passion was ignited in the structural engineering research labs at Mississippi State University, where he would assist his father, an LSU alumnus, before he retired as the distinguished Hearrin-Hess Professor in engineering. “I have a tremendous amount of passion and pride for where I went to school,” Sinno shared of walking in his father’s footsteps at Louisiana’s flagship.

His passion grew with the mentorship of Dr. Brian Wolshon, civil and environmental engineering professor. “I owe him more than he will ever know,” Sinno said. “He gave me humility and ambition.” He added that Wolshon brought civil engineering to life by engaging students and pushing them to achieve. “He made learning fun, which it is and how it should be.”

Sinno has high hopes that the scholarship recipients will further strengthen the university and engineering and, in turn, the U.S. “The only way we’re going to continue our reputation in the world is if we invest in our people, and this is my little way of doing that on a very small scale.”

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2015.