Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Simon Villegas

2018 Academic Scholarship Donor Luncheon

Simon Villegas is pictured with his scholarship donor, Debra Sarvela (left), and her daughter, Kristin Sarvela (right).

Simon Villegas is a sophomore from Morton Grove, Illinois, studying aviation technologies. He is a University Excellence Scholarship, David Rich Memorial Scholarship, and Jeremiah Eugene Price Aviation Technologies Scholarship recipient.

Why did you choose SIU?
I chose SIU because the aviation program is one of the best in the nation. Also, Carbondale is located in an area where there are a lot of activities.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
My interest in planes is what inspired me to study aviation technologies. The whole aviation industry amazes me.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
It was my first day of class when I was arriving on the bus to the airport and seeing the airport for the first time. My most memorable experience was when I saw the planes flying and the facilities and hangar with all the aircraft. I still remember the excitement and how good I felt about studying in this place.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
Since I am in aviation technologies, I brag about all the planes we have, about my classes being hands-on and about the facility and airport we have where I go to class every day.

Could you tell us about the impact of the scholarship on your education at SIU and your life in general?
Being an immigrant who has been in the United states for five years, and the first to go to college here, my family can’t afford to pay for my education. I also have another brother who just started college too, and a sister in high school, so it is a lot of money for my family. Thanks to these scholarships, I am able to stay in school and pay for my tuition and living costs without my parents having to worry about it.

Why should people consider donating to SIU?
Because there are a lot of talented students who struggle to pay the cost of education, and all these scholarships and money invested on students makes a huge impact on their education, like it did on me.

If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit? Why?
I would like to see a student benefit from it, because I see the difference it made this year on my finances.

About the scholarship:
Mrs. Debra A. Sarvela wanted to establish a fund to provide financial support to students enrolled in the Aviation Technologies Program, in memory of her father, J. Eugene Price. Mr. Price established a career as an electrical engineer, specializing in flight simulation. His career began when Mr. Price was serving in the U.S. Army and continued for 40 years until his retirement from Hughes Aircraft.

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