Scholar of the Week



Manuel Retana      
University of Nevada, Reno




Manuel Retana is a rising junior pursuing an Honors Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He is a Class of 2014 HENAAC Scholar receiving a $1,416.00 scholarship sponsored by NASA Johnson Space Center.

At the age of 15, Manuel moved back to the U.S. from Mexico, leaving behind his family and culture where he grew up. His ambition was to pursue higher education and improve the life of his family. During his first two years in the U.S., as a high school junior and senior, Manuel struggled but rose to the challenge of becoming the FIRST Robotics Club President.

A first generation American and college student, in 2013-14, Manuel served as president of three UNR student organizations Manuel served as the Residence Hall Government President organizing social, academic, and cultural activities as well as philanthropy events to support the needy and homeless of Reno. He was the President-Co-founder of the Mariachi “Lobos de Plata” Club, the first of its kind at UNR. The club received Obtained ASUN Outstanding New Club of the Year and also the first mariachi class was officially launched on campus MUSE 190. As the president and singer of the club, his goal was to promote diversity at UNR and within the local community. His mariachi group supports other organizations by performing in their fundraisers and philanthropy events. Manuel is also the President-Founder of the Nevada Taekwondo Club where he teaches self-defense. His passion for martial arts and the need of physical activity motivated him to start a club sport on campus.

In regards to his academics, Manuel is equally focused. Maintaining a 3.78 GPA, Manuel earned recognition on the UNR College of engineering dean’s list in fall 2013. His ambition and curiosity were the reasons why he applied to the Honors program for his major.

Manuel’s goal is to go to graduate school and earn a degree in aerospace engineering at Stanford University. His dream job is to work for a company such as NASA or SpaceX. This summer he is interning with National Nuclear Security Administration.



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