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Kevin Nguyen

Tucson, AZ – Kevin Nguyen could end up working for Raytheon or another company as an engineer, after he wraps up his degree at the University of Arizona.

Kevin explains, “I’m currently applying for internships at Raytheon, and when I’m about to graduate I do plan on applying for a job at Raytheon, and I’m also thinking about applying at Honeywell and IBM, and maybe some local businesses here in Tucson. But, for sure, I want to use my engineering skills that I gain from college to help others. Because, one of the things that I love to do is help others, and that’s kind of why I pursued engineering, because I really love math as well, and so they correlate – me helping others in my engineering.”

Kevin adds that he is keeping his career and education options open, “There are so many things in engineering that have gotten my attention, and I haven’t particularly picked just one focus, and I’m trying different things. And, I’m still deciding what I want to do after I graduate, whether I want to go and pursue my Master’s or my PhD, or just go straight to the workforce, and hopefully get a company to pay for my Master’s or PhD. But, as of right now I am unsure of what career aspirations I want to pursue.”

Kevin, age 21, was born and raised in Tucson where he graduated from Amphitheater High School. He’s currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Industrial Engineering at the U of A and expects to graduate in 2019.

Kevin is among the hundreds of students who have earned scholarships from College Success Arizona, which provide up to six thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. The scholars also receive specialized mentoring services provided by a team of talented “Success Advisers.”

Matt Sotelo is Kevin’s adviser, “Matt has been very influential with his advice. I know that he can’t really relate (to my degree) with his degree, however he relates more as just being a support role. I can always shoot him a text if something is going on, and he will always respond and just be supportive of me. And, every time I’ve met with him the conversation always goes longer than planned, I’m just very thankful for his support.”

And so far as the financial aspect of the scholarship, “It has helped me a lot in the sense that I don’t have to pay much for my education, and I have other scholarships as well. Also, funding from FAFSA is down, so the College Success Arizona scholarship is very helpful when other costs are going up, and continue to go up.”

Meanwhile, engineering has been Kevin’s dream job since childhood, “It has always been something I’ve wanted to do since I was about ten years old. And, I just came from seeing my uncle who works in electrical computer engineering, and it just piqued my interest in what he does, and how he helps others.”

And, for middle and high school students considering their college options, Kevin offers some advice, “Always apply to as many colleges as you can, and come your senior year, just strive for your best and push as hard as you can to get good grades. In school, always try to finish strong and finish hard, and try to accomplish your goals because it will be worth it in the end.”

Kevin also encourages others to face and overcome life’s challenges, “Everybody goes through their own challenges in college, and you have to have the mindset to push forward and keep on going. I know it may be hard and a lot of people usually give up, but once you get through it, it feels so much better. If you can grasp the mindset of overcoming challenge, it will be okay, because you won’t be so overwhelmed, and it’ll be easier to look at the bigger picture.”

Life at the University of Arizona has changed Kevin’s worldview for the better, “It has helped me in all aspects of my life, just having that experience. In the beginning of my college experience as a first-year student, I was a bit of a pessimist, but now over the years I’ve become more optimistic, and looking forward to my goals and aspirations. Even though I’m going to attend college for a fifth year, I’m not looking at it as a bad thing – I’m taking it as a positive, in that I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m trying to strive to be better.”

Kevin adds:

“The upside of college has been the network that I’ve been building and the opportunities I’ve pursued to try and better myself as an individual, and as a leadership student. I’ve participated in a leadership program on campus, which teaches students leadership for four years and focuses on community service, and networking. It has helped me meet more people but at the same time strengthen my leadership skills, because last fall I mentored 19 first year engineering students, and having them go through the college experience for their first time, just guiding them through it. And I’m also connected with other volunteering clubs and I’m just trying to make an impact in the community, at the U of A.

Beyond the books, “I play video games and I try to go to the gym – every now and then, go swimming or something like that. And reading, I love to read because it takes my mind off of things, and I know that we read a lot as college students, but just reading science fiction and other books is great. I’ve also developed a new hobby this year, which is playing board games.”

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.

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