Scholar of the Week

Andres J. Tapia
University of Illinois at Chicago

Scholarship presented by Oracle Academy

Andres J. Tapia believes that to be human is to not always succeed, but instead to learn about our capabilities through the challenges we encounter. Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (UIC), Andres is planning to graduate in May 2022. For his exemplary achievements and commitment to helping those in need, Andres was presented with the Oracle Academy Scholarship at the 2019 GMiS Conference.

In his life, Andres credits significant experiences that shaped his values and character. Andres played music in the school bands, participating from middle school through high school. Though a capable musician, Andres’ spot in his section was in jeopardy, due to his “musical stuttering,” or an inability to consistently blow air, preventing him from keeping musical notes in sync. With no intention of giving up, Andres sought help and tutoring from his previous middle school music teacher, and determinedly honed his craft for an hour and a half of practice every day. When the time came for auditions, Andres’ hard work paid off, earning him first chair leader in his section and eventually a seat in the District Honors Band. Andres shared that this experience, “made me realize that I should never give up, regardless of the difficulties that I might face. I understand now that failure is not final. If I persist, I can succeed.”

It was love and closeness to his family that truly guided Andres’ studies and future career, especially in the care of his middle brother’s nonverbal autistic condition. Through the care of his brother, Andres found great compassion and a desire to reach out to those with similar needs. During his family’s participation in yearly fundraising on behalf of his brother, Andres saw first-hand how much effort the afflicted children and young adults gave to participate, demonstrating just how fortunate he was to lead a life without those challenges.

Through his experiences with his brother and his peers, and understanding their inability to verbally express themselves, Andres finds inspiration to attain a career in computer science for the benefit of others. Using his passion and understanding of video games and digital media, Andres seeks to apply his knowledge of software design and creation to aid non-verbal autistic patients in everyday life, “I want to create practical applications for individuals with disabilities to be able to communicate, interact, and be integrated with the rest of the world.”

For his academic excellence and continued dedication to helping those in need in all aspects of his life, GMiS is proud to recognize Andres J. Tapia as the Scholar of the Week and his pursuit to create new opportunities to those in need.

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