By Troy Wilde
December 23, 2016
Tucson, AZ – Brandon Preciado could end up working in Arizona’s rapidly growing renewable energy sector.
Brandon explains, “I’ve had a long-term interest in working with electronics that can range from an everyday cell phone, to different hardware parts, and computer parts. But, since coming to the University of Arizona I’ve become interested in working in the power systems field. It can involve working with anything having to do with a power plant, or solar cells. Actually, my dream job would be to work with solar cells, such as solar panels and renewable energy.”
Brandon, age 19, was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona. He graduated from Cibola High School and attended Arizona Western College in Yuma, before transferring to the University of Arizona, where he’s pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Meanwhile, Brandon points out that solar energy is becoming a mainstream power source, “In Yuma, and here in Tucson, almost everything is covered with solar panels. I know in Yuma, a lot of the schools, and even the grocery stores such as Albertsons and Walmart, have solar panel roofs that are able to help power big buildings. At Arizona Western College, not only is the whole parking lot covered with solar panels, one whole side of the college is just fields and fields of solar panels.
After graduation, Brandon will be considering his options of where to live and start his career, “I would like to be in Phoenix or Yuma. I have an uncle that it is a software engineer who may be able to hook me up with a job in San Diego, but Phoenix or Yuma, would most definitely be where I would like to live.”
Brandon is among the hundreds of high potential students from low income circumstances who have earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona. In addition to financial support, the scholarship provides specialized mentoring services through a team of highly skilled “Success Advisers.” Matt Sotelo is Brandon’s success adviser:
“Matt is the person who has advised me about using resources at the university, but more than that he has become a friend. He’s always been there – just a phone call or text away – to answer any questions about college that I may have.”
Brandon adds that the six-thousand dollars provided by the scholarship each school year, has been helpful, ““Humungous, humungous, humungous – it’s been a humungous help! This scholarship combined with financial aid that I’ve received, has been truly a blessing. Compared to other people who are taking out thousands of dollars in student loans, I am completely blessed – that is the only way that I can describe it. Once I graduate, any other program out there that is trying to do stuff like College Success Arizona is doing – I would definitely love to help out and give back in the future, just because I know how much that it has impacted me. I would like to help somebody else who has been in the same shoes that I’m in.”
Brandon has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “Plan out the next two years after you graduate high school. I found that working two jobs while attending community college full-time was great preparation, and provided a lot of life lessons and experience, before moving over here by myself (moving to Tucson).”
Looking back at his college experience thus far, Brandon says, “The best part of going to college, is also going to be the worst part; it’s getting beat down by the university life, but growing in the process. I feel that I have a grown an immense amount by going through the challenges of college. Studying intensely, staying up all night to complete work and assignments, all of it has helped me, and is what I would call the best part of college.”