By Troy Wilde
January 6, 2017
Tucson, AZ – Miguel Solorio is planning on using his architecture degree from the University of Arizona to help low income families.
“I want to focus on low income housing – researching and practicing new methods in materials, and techniques in construction, that can be economical and ultimately make housing and renting, more affordable to those families.”
Miguel, age 23, was born in Santa Rosa, California and his family lived in Nevada, Indiana, Cancun, Mexico and other places before settling in Peoria, Arizona. Miguel graduated from Peoria High School and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Arizona.
Miguel says his life experience has played a leading role in his career choice, “I think it had a lot to do with how I grew up, moving to all of those places, and seeing different people, and different build environments. My childhood was kind of poverty-stricken and we lived in a lot of deteriorated housing. Just living through that experience, I was able to see firsthand how I can help people with architecture.”
Meanwhile, technology seems to impact every sector of business and life, and Miguel says architecture is no exception, “Right now in school we’re exploring a new material called ‘scoria,’ which is a lava rock-type material. Through our research we’ve installed thermostats inside the walls of several houses we’ve built to determine how scoria performs thermally for human comfort.”
So far as work experience, Miguel says he’s learning a lot through internships, such as the one he completed at an architecture office in Scottsdale, “With them I got to build some physical models of a Navajo community that is being built right now in Northern Arizona. They’re also exploring building materials that are local and economical.”
Miguel has also developed an interest in photography while in architecture school, “In school we have to take a lot of pictures of models, and we often have to do graphic illustrations of our projects. So, I’ve really learned a lot about photography and I really enjoy it. Recently I’ve been doing portrait photography, and family photography on the side as an extra source of income.”
Miguel is among the hundreds of hardworking, high potential students from low income circumstances who have earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona. The scholarship provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. It also provides students with specialized mentoring services administered by a team of highly skilled “Success Advisers.”
Miguel says his success adviser, Matt Sotelo, provides valuable guidance, “I meet up with Matt two or three times per semester, and we pretty much catch up on what I’m currently doing. We talk about any struggles or issues that I’m having, and Matt helps with that, but we also talk about him. So, it’s a friendship that we’ve formed over time.”
Miguel adds that the financial support makes life easier, “School is really expensive and it’s not just tuition and housing. In school you have to pay out-of-pocket for your trips and to build your projects, so the scholarship from College Success Arizona has been really helpful.”
Miguel has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “I say ‘go to school.’ Even if it’s not what you want to do, or you’re not sure about it, a university or college education really helps you learn about yourself, and your values and goals. Even if you don’t continue on with the career that you chose, you’ve definitely learned a lot about yourself, and you grow as a person.”
So far as his own college experience, Miguel says it’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of growth, “College at times has been really stressful, and my major is really competitive; we go from 200 students to fifty students by the end of graduation. So, I think the best part of college is just really immersing yourself in education and just learning as much as you can while you’re in college. I think the all-nighters and all of those deadlines are stressful and exhausting, but it’s also the time when you learn the most.”