Rice University, Electrical and Computer Engineering student Zach Alvear received the 2020-21 Phil Layton Award for Excellence in the Arts on December 8th.
The Phil Layton Award for Excellence in the Arts is an endowment established in 2006 by Rice Engineering Alumnus, Mr. Phil Layton '85, to recognize an undergraduate engineering student who has demonstrated involvement in the performing, visual or written arts.
Zach Alvear was recognized for his contributions to music and the Rice community as a whole by participating in Mariachi Luna Llena, Rice University's student-run professional mariachi group.
Mariachi Luna Llena is dedicated to building cultural bridges both at Rice University and in the Greater Houston community through public and private performances. Alvear has been a member of the group since 2018, joining during his sophomore year at Rice.
A Houston native, participating in the music group has allowed Alvear to cherish new experiences, including playing at the Houston Sister Cities fall festival and the Houston Astros game. Playing the vihuela and singing within the group, Alvear has also taken on a leadership role with Mariachi Luna Llena, serving as the interim president, organizing performances, and taking on group responsibilities as some members became remote during this semester.
Speaking on his passion for music, Alvear commented, "Music has always been an outlet for me and was a huge part of my life long before I decided to pursue engineering. I have an acoustic guitar nearby, so I can play it anytime I need a break from my studies."
In his senior year, Zach has maintained a rigorous schedule both in and out of the classroom, completing internships with Google and Intel and working on campus as an Academic Fellow and Undergraduate Researcher while completing his ECE degree. "Time is sacred as an engineering student, but I can't think of a better way to spend my Sunday afternoons and Wednesday Evenings than playing music with some of the best musicians on campus."
Alvear is thrilled to receive this award for efforts in engineering and music. "Engineering and Mariachi Luna Llena has been something I've been consistently involved with at Rice, so it feels great to be recognized for it."