We caught up with Armando Godoy, who graduated from El Rancho High School in 2017 and is a Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera (G1DPR) alum. The last time we featured Armando he was spearheading a series of monthly solar workshops at the STEAM Academy at Burke Middle School and was recognized for his leadership by ABC7’s “Cool Kids.”
Now in his sophomore year at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), Armando shares his college successes, which he credits to the workshops and support of G1DPR. Here’s what he had to say…
Tell us about your freshman year at UCSD. Any tips on how to transition from high school to college life?
The summer before freshman year, I attended UCSD’s Summer Engineering Institute. It’s similar to a summer bridge program and designed to help engineering students get use to college courses and life on campus. During the session, I had an opportunity to network with other students, attend workshops on how to access and take advantage of resources on campus, and learn how to manage my time between studying and activities. Once school started, I didn’t feel like a freshman at all. I already had a feel for the classes and campus and met some of my best friends I have today. The program really helped to set up my foundation for college, so I’d recommend that students transitioning to high school definitely go to any type of summer bridge or transition program.
What other activities have you participated in to stay engaged on campus?
During the Summer Engineering Institute, I was able to get to know the faculty and have them guide me as a mentor. One faculty member does research at UCSD’s structural engineering lab and asked if I wanted to be on a research team with Stanford, Berkeley and UCSD called the “Cripple Wall Research Project.” I knew it was a great opportunity, so I joined during the winter and spring semesters during my freshman year. It gave me an opportunity to work with PhD students that helped guide me in labs, get to know the teacher assistants from my classes better, and gain hands-on experience building walls and reinforcements. It was a cool opportunity that built on my experiences and confidence in engineering.
I also applied to be a peer mentor for the Summer Engineering Institute the summer before my sophomore year. I served as a mentor and RA (resident assistant) to 120 incoming freshman, guided workshops, provided tips and resources and more. I just felt like the program gave me so much when I attended, that I wanted to give back to the incoming students.
Sounds like you’ve really immersed yourself on campus! Looking ahead, what’s next for you?
Last quarter there was a career fair for construction management. I heard about this career fair at the very last-minute, so I rushed to get my resume printed, got dressed and headed over to the fair to see if I could find an internship for the summer. The first company I talked to was rough. But then I spoke to a company representative for another company and he really liked me. They passed my resume to the engineering team, and I got an email the next day requesting an interview. I drove up to Los Angeles for the interview and they offered me an internship as a project engineer right on the spot. I really didn’t think I would get the job. There are so many smart kids–many from private schools–that don’t have internships, but I think what set me apart was the interviewing skills that I learned through the workshops offered by G1DPR.
Thinking back to G1DPR, can you talk about how the program has helped you in college?
The Summer Boot Camp I participated in the before my high school senior year through G1DPR is where I really learned all of my professional skills that have helped me throughout college. For example, learning how to write professional emails, the mock interviews and the resume workshop–the resume workshop is what allowed me to be prepared for the college fair. I’ve kept my resume updated since G1DPR and that’s why I was able to print and go to the career fair on campus at the last minute. The mock interviews were very helpful too! At job fairs I can thrive. All of that practice made me comfortable having conversations and not nervous at all. Because of that, I can be myself and the recruiters can get to know my true character. I’m really thankful for all of those G1DPR workshops because it helped me land my summer internship and learn skills I just keep building on.
Any closing thoughts on G1DPR and the success you’re experiencing at UCSD so far?
I like to think that I used all of my resources from high school to the best of my ability through college. Current students at El Rancho High should take advantage of what G1DPR has to offer because they really do make you stand out and be competitive once you’re on your college campus. I hope that motivates ERHS students to be involved with the program and take what they learn to their college campuses.