Alejandro Narvaez-Colon is a junior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, studying computer science.
Why did you choose SIU?
With a deep passion for conducting research, I chose SIU because it is a top-tier research institution. I knew SIU would allow me to perform all the academic activities I wanted to take part in during my college career.
What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
It is a very resourceful institution, and they should take advantage of all the opportunities they can manage to get.
What inspired you to choose your area of study?
When I was 13 years old, my father — a businessman providing services to gas stations around Puerto Rico — took me to his office to work together on the design of a point of sales software that would satisfy the general needs of gas station managers. As I observed him develop the software, I became fascinated by the magic of programming, where simple words serve as the building blocks to endless computer functionalities. Amazed by what I learned by my father’s side, I decided to learn how to code. Two years later, my dad’s software was fully developed, and I had taught myself how to program in Java. I promised my dad I would create a smartphone application that would accompany his software. With this commitment to programming, I chose computer science as my career path and am now in the process of becoming the software engineer I want to be.
What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
For three months, my Chinese professor took an hour every single Monday, Wednesday and Friday in order to catch me up with what every other student had learned the previous semester. This helped me enormously, and if it weren’t for his kindness and dedication to my learning and understanding, I would not be where I am today.
Have you received any scholarships as a student?
I have received the Dean’s Scholarship, Dr. Albert Somit’s Scholarship and the Minority Scholarship.
What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
It has been an amazing help to be able to have that financial weight taken off my shoulders. Because of these scholarships, I have been able to spend less time working and more time studying, researching and contributing my time to SIU.
How has SIU inspired you?
The professional development opportunities I have had at SIU have inspired me to go after the things I want without fear of rejection, because if you work hard, you will get what you are after. Guaranteed.
Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Donating to SIU would allow more students like me, who want to make the best out of their college education, to strive and not worry about financial limitations. I know too many people who are either drowning in debt from their student loans or that have had to drop out of SIU because they cannot afford their education.
What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
The Saluki Student Investment Fund is the most amazing organization of which I have ever been a part. It is so nice to be managing an actual portfolio just like you would at an actual job.
You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/