Alumnus profile: From line cook to civil engineer
When Upward Scholars alumnus Amado came to the US from Mexico in 2011, he started at zero. “I couldn’t communicate in English. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have any experience in this country,” Amado says.
In June, Amado graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and two months later began work as a project engineer at WebCor Builders, a San Francisco-based general contractor.
Soon after coming to the US, Amado got a job as a line cook at a Mexican restaurant earning $8 an hour. He also enrolled in ESL classes at Sequoia Adult School, then started taking classes at Cañada College. Amado received his Cañada College ESL certificate in 2013 and graduated from Cañada with an Associate Degree in Engineering in 2016.
While attending Cañada, Amado received more than $2,000 in support from Upward Scholars, which paid for textbooks and bus passes that covered the cost of the bus to and from college.
“When I began my journey, the people at Upward Scholars were among the first people who believed in me,” Amado says. “I will always be grateful for that.”