By Desiree Lopez
Making paper rockets go up into the air is just one of the ways East Los Angeles College student Albert Venegas motivates children to understand the sky’s the limit.
Venegas is the Engineering Club Vice President, and provides children and their parents fun and challenging activities every Saturday on campus.
Events like “Noche de Ciencias” (Science Night) promote higher education, where parents and students can attend workshops and to different aspects of the engineering world.
To create a fun and challenging experience for K-12 students, the Engineering Club teamed up with Caine’s Arcade.
Caine’s Arcade was created by nine-year-old Caine Monroy, who while helping out in his father’s used auto part shop, had the bright idea to create an arcade made entirely out of cardboard boxes.
Club member Tiffany Alvarez said, “He (Venegas) has a clear mindset as to what he wants for his future. He goes day by day with a positive mentality.”
“Venegas always takes the time to encourage and motivate other students whether they are peers, high school student or even middle school students,” Alvarez said.
Venegas, a mechanical engineering major, hopes to one day be part of the aerospace or automotive industry to work for companies such as Boeing or Northrop Grumman.
“Albert is very motivated in becoming an engineer and a leader in his community. He likes to teach students the engineering process on his free time,” said club board member Rafael Romo.
“Motivation comes day by day,.Every time I meet someone who has obtained their bachelor’s degree, they are the motivation that I get. and seeing how they have overcome challenges making it my end goal to achieve what they have achieved,” Venegas said.
Being the third of seven children, and the only one attending ELAC, Venegas likes to motivate his younger siblings to strive to be the best.
One of Venegas’ goals is to prepare his youngest brother Andy Lopez, 13, for college.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles and being of Mexican descent, Venegas has always had strong family support.
“My father Juan and mother Ana have definitely been strong supporters in pushing me to get my degree,” Venegas said.
“Since I was young, I was interested in engineering. I would take things apart that worked or were broken,” Venegas said.
Venegas has obtained two scholarships. One from the Southern California Gas Company and the Southern California Edison. He hopes he gets accepted at either California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, or California State University, Long Beach, next year.
Right now, Venegas has been accepted to the University of Southern California Summer Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Research Experience Program and will be attending this summer.
One of the individuals who have encouraged Venegas to pursue engineering is his MESA adviser Brian Vasquez, “without him I would not continue going,” Venegas said.
“He (Venegas), like many STEM students, has faced the challenge of being underprepared for the STEM coursework, but has continuously made improvements,” Vasquez said.