By Paul June 16, 2019
Country of Origin: Mexico
Age of Arrival: 7 years old
Hometown: El Paso, TX
Degree: Mechanical Engineering
Like many children, I remember feeling disoriented, frustrated, and isolated at times. Being a kid isn’t always easy and especially when you are adjusting to a new country.
I moved here from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico when I was 7 years old with my parents and twin brother. I had been going to school in Mexico for three or four years at that point, and when I began school in Texas, I could not understand a word anyone was saying. Once I knew we were staying in America, it was both a sad realization, but also the reason I started to view America as home. I also started to value and appreciate the fact that I was learning a variety of subjects and many different things that I probably would not have learned back in Mexico.
My parents are two of the most hard-working people I know. My mother has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, which she earned back in Ciudad Juarez. Unfortunately, she can’t use her degree here, so she has two jobs: one in a Mexican restaurant and the other as a housekeeper. My father has his high school diploma and works two jobs, too, one in an office and the other doing welding jobs on the side. I have two brothers; one is 12 years old and the second one is my twin. Our younger brother is a U.S. citizen, and my twin and I are DACA beneficiaries.
Growing up, I kept my lack of papers to myself. By middle school, I had made a lot of friends. I played sports and joined the band and choir; my life just seemed like it was getting progressively easier. This is when I stopped feeling like I do not belong here.
My sense of belonging in this country grew even stronger through my high school years, since I was involved in several different extracurricular and community service activities. During my junior year at Clint Early College Academy – a non-traditional high school that enables its students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and credits towards an Associate’s Degree – I actually earned my Associate’s.
Then, during my senior year, my advisors suggested I try to enroll at the University of Texas El Paso. I was excited at the possibility of doing so, but knew my parents would not be able to afford the tuition for my twin and I all at the same time. I began trying to save money working at a part-time job during my senior year, but receiving TheDream.US scholarship ultimately made my next move to University of Texas El Paso a reality.
I hope to first work towards my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and afterwards earn my Master’s in Biomedical Engineering. With these skills and credentials, I plan to help out not only my family but other people in need. I would like to work for organizations involved in the engineering and production of prosthetics such as LIMBS International. I hope that by working there, I will be able to spread awareness in society about people who have been dealt an unlucky hand but are surviving.
Lastly, I hope that one day I get to be an inspiration for many other DACA students like me who are pursuing their higher education paths, trying to repay their parents for their sacrifices, and thankful to so many for the opportunities we now have.