March 14, 2016
By Troy Wilde
Tucson, AZ – Patt Intarakamhang (in-tuh-ROCK-um-hang) is a 22 year old senior at the University of Arizona pursuing his goal of becoming a mechanical engineer for a major player in the U.S. national defense industry, “My dream right now really is to become a mechanical engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems. They’re a global firm that is a contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense. I just think it would be cool to work on technologies that would help defend our country.”
The Missile Systems division of Raytheon has engineering and manufacturing facilities in Tucson that employ about ten-thousand people.
Patt explains that he’s had a long association with the company, “They’ve been a big influence on why I decided to become an engineer. When I was in high school I participated in an engineering club, and Raytheon was a big sponsor in that so I got to meet a lot of Raytheon engineers and really learned about engineering through them.”
Patt was born and raised in Tucson and graduated from Desert View High School – where he also learned about College Success Arizona.
Patt went on to earn a scholarship through the educational nonprofit which helped him stay out of debt, “I’m in no debt right now. It’s been really helpful and it even helped me in funding my study-abroad trip to Germany last summer since I had some money left over from all of the scholarships I was able to get.”
Patt has high praise for Matt Sotelo, his success adviser with College Success Arizona, “It’s been really nice to have a mentor throughout my college experience. It’s kind of like having someone to go along on the ride with you – and Matt’s always been there. If I’m ever struggling he‘s always had encouraging words and I could always turn to him for advice if I needed it.”
Patt adds that college has helped him to make new friends and develop a network of contacts, “As I got deeper into my major, we all kind of started knowing each other from all of our classes and we really have a network where we can help each other during classes. Even now we still try to help each other with our job search as we try to move from college into the real world.”
Many of the students who earn scholarships from College Success Arizona have overcome a language barrier, poverty and other challenges. Patt says his biggest challenge was dealing with the loss of his mother to cancer while he was in high school, “Just the shock of losing my mom at that point was kind of…I don’t really have the words for it, but it was just a huge blow for my family. It really heightened my responsibilities – I had to learn how to cook for my family because my dad was away at work. I still cook for my family now that I still live at home. It was just trying to come back from that and keep things kind of like they were.”
Patt says he hopes that a good-paying and secure job with a company like Raytheon will help him support his father, “My dad is going to be retiring right after I graduate so I would like to be able to take care of him as well as my parents took care of me.”
Patt encourages grade school students to strongly consider a path to college:
“I think college presents a really good opportunity to advance in life. I think they should explore their interests and see really what the colleges have to offer, and look at what they want to do with their lives and what would be the best career path for them.”