Phoenix, AZ – Guillermo Cruz likes computers a lot, so much so that he’s well on his way to earning a graduate degree in computer science.
Guillermo was born and raised in Yuma where he graduated from Cibola High School. He is also an Arizona State University graduate, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Systems Engineering, and he plans to pursue a master’s degree and eventually his doctorate.
Unlike some techies, Guillermo’s love of technology didn’t begin in childhood:
“It’s something that developed in college. I had a friend who introduced me to programming during my freshman year, and it came easy to me, so I decided to switch my major and continue in computer science.”
Guillermo points out that his parents had a big influence on his path to college, “From an early age they always stressed the importance of school and they were always very supportive of me from the start. Whenever my grades would start to drop they would push me to do better. So, my parents played a major role in me attending college, and were probably the best guides I could have.”
Guillermo is among the many hard-working students who have earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provide up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, and students also received specialized mentoring services through “Success Advisers.”
Guillermo says his Success Adviser, Barbra Scrivner, has been a big help, “She’s was there as a mentor and a guide for me. Whenever I was unsure of something, or had questions, or maybe I was freaking out about my exam finals, or just trying to balance life and school – she was always there, and she helped me to figure out a plan to tackle whatever challenge I was facing.”
Guillermo adds that the financial aspect of the scholarship helped to reduce the stress of attending college, “It helped out so much, because college is getting more expensive, the scholarship covered a lot of my expenses and made going to college relatively easy. I didn’t have to worry about money that much, I could just worry about my grades and my performance overall in learning.”
Attending college can come with many challenges, for Guillermo time management was a big challenge, “When I first started college, I didn’t know how to manage my time well because I would end up with multiple things to do – many different projects for different classes that required a lot of time. Thankfully, over time I figured out”
Guillermo has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “I really, really recommend working on getting good grades, because ultimately good grades are going to help you get into college. I also think that getting good grades shows your work ethic, and how much work you’re willing to put into something. I would also encourage students to find something that they enjoy, because you could end up doing something you enjoy so much, that it doesn’t feel like a job.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income backgrounds, your tax deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page. Your support can help change lives.