April 4, 2016
By Troy Wilde
Yuma, AZ – Edgar Cruz is passionate about racing ATV’s in the sand dunes near Yuma. After he graduates from Northern Arizona University’s Yuma Branch Campus with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – Edgar may very well end up in a four-wheel drive vehicle patrolling the desert somewhere between San Diego and Brownsville (Texas).
Edgar says his interest in the Border Patrol emerged from spending time with his family in the desert while growing up in Yuma, “We would go out in the desert riding and I used to see the Border Patrol out there – so I’ve always had some interest. One of the things that’s pretty cool about going into any law enforcement field is that mostly every day it’s a different day. You’re not always doing the same thing and I don’t see myself being stuck in a desk job.”
Edgar adds that he would be happy to patrol the borders around Yuma but is also open to relocation, “If I end up in Texas or part of California it would be pretty nice to see new environments and meet other people.”
Edgar is currently a junior at NAU Yuma and expects to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in 2017. He graduated from Cibola High School and earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provides up to six-thousand dollars per school year for educational expenses.
In addition to the money, College Success Arizona also provides mentoring services to the students throughout their college experience. Edgar offers high praise for his Success Adviser Matt Sotelo:
“I don’t think I would consider him as an adviser, I would consider him as a good friend. I had some bumps in college – made some bad decisions and he was always there to give me advice and encourage me to just focus.”
Edgar adds that his parents, who have spent their lives working in the fields around Yuma, urged him to get a college education, “They always supported us to go to college – everything they did was for us to continue to go to school to have a better education and get a career that we would like to go into, and not end up working out in the fields like them.”
College can have a profound effect on some people – for example, transforming severely shy students into polished public speakers and networkers. Edgar says college has given him the confidence to pursue a high-speed passion, “It has changed me not only academically on my path to school but also follow other dreams and goals I have, such as racing ATV’s competitively, which I did for a year.”
Edgar says middle and high school students considering college should put the pedal to the metal, “If you already have a plan, go for it. Go pursue the path you want. I think that going to college will open you to what you would like to be, what career you would like to pursue – and you’ll get to meet awesome people and make new friends.”