A Purdue student recently received the Hispanic Scholarship Fund award, making him only one of 12 students from across the country to receive this accolade.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a program that rewards outstanding Latino students who are pursuing degrees in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, better known as STEM, and who have plans to share their knowledge with younger students through teaching.
The program, which is partially funded by a donation from President Barack Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award money, selects 12 students each year.
Among those selected this year, was South Bend, Ind., native and Purdue student, Juan Crespo. Crespo is a junior majoring in Atmospheric Science.
In an email, Crespo explained his motivation for applying and his emotions after finding out he had been selected.
“I was really excited and felt extremely blessed,” said Crespo. “Any college student that receives money is going to be in a really good mood.”
The two year scholarship, awarded to juniors enrolled in a four year college or university, awards $5,000 to each of the recipients.
Crespo wrote that he first became interested in the Hispanic Scholarship Fund program in high school when considering potential scholarships for college.
“I have always had the incentive to teach,” said Crespo. “I discovered during my time at Purdue that I wanted to become a professor ... I get to not only perform major research, but I get to teach the young and passionate minds entering the field of the atmospheric sciences.”
During his application for the award, Crespo was developing a study dealing with linearity of teleconnections during El Niño and La Niña meteorological events.
“It is still a work in progress that I will probably not finish until my senior year when I can use it for my undergraduate thesis,” wrote Crespo.
Ernest Agee, a professor in the department of earth and atmospheric sciences, said he first met Crespo as a freshman in the earth and atmospheric science 117 class that he was teaching.
“(Crespo) was a very bright student ... with a tremendous drive to pursue science,” said Agee.
He also said he’s not at all surprised to hear of his award.
Crespo wrote that the work can be difficult and frustrating at times, but when everything works out it can be very rewarding.
Crespo would also like to help students reach their potential by serving as a mentor and helping other minorities.
“I would also reach out to minorities and under represented students who may not have the same resources as other students to help them succeed,” he said.