Scholar of the Week

Francisco Garcia-Salas      
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Francisco Garcia-Salas is a junior pursuing his electrical engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  However, Pancho is his name.  He describes himself as “Pancho the Mexican electrical engineering major from the southwest side of Chicago that graduated from Curie Metro High School.”

The first in his family to go to college, Pancho is motivated by his father’s words, “El estudio es la llave de la felicidad.”  A HENAAC Class of 2015 Scholars, he is a recipient of a $4,250 Northrop Grumman Corporation scholarship. In 2014, he also received this scholarship.

Pancho has been actively involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers in their high school outreach activities at their outreach chair for the past two years.  In this role he was responsible for organizing High School Visitation Days, which bring 60 students in fall and spring from underrepresented high schools from the Chicago area.  Coincidentally, it was this same program that introduced him to UIUC and as such provided him the opportunity to reach back to other students.  Because of his extensive involvement, in 2014, Francisco received the SHPE|UIUC Freshman of the Year and High School Outreach Member of the Year.

A leader in the STEM field is one that has proven themselves in the past, currently works to improve themselves and their community, and strives to become successful and help those around them to reach their maximum potential.  Fueled by his ambition to become a pioneering engineer in the defense industry, Pancho’s past has made him the person who he is today, a student that strives to succeed to be a role model to those who need support by showing them that a success story can emerge from a community surround by adversity.  

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