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Early this spring, before COVID-19 hit Park City, Vicente Flores spent a day at the University of Utah with Bright Futures board member John Wendolowski. John accompanied Vicente to “Future Freshman Day” for students interested in the University of Utah's Engineering Program. As a former engineer and a first generation college student himself, John was the perfect volunteer for the job. “Vicente has always been interested in math and science, but wasn’t sure about his path forward after high school. Hearing from those engineering students and professors really helped him understand what a career path may look like for someone with his interests and skills,” recalls John.
From that day forward, Vicente’s college path was decided. “When I heard them talk about how challenging the courses are and how busy college life is for engineering students, it really motivated me. I work best when I’m challenged,” admits Vicente. Vicente will join the growing cohort of talented first-generation students at the University of Utah this fall and plans to major in Chemical Engineering.
Vicente was a busy student while at Park City High School, participating in Bright Futures, Latinos In Action and Dream Big while also holding down jobs at the Outlets and in local restaurants. “Bright Futures and my PCHS teachers have prepared me well. I feel ready for the academic challenges and we learned a lot about the social adjustments ahead during our Pre-College Retreat in June.”
Vicente is one of six Bright Futures student interns hired by the Summit Land Conservancy this summer. For Vicente, the experience has been a great stepping stone toward the next phase of his academic career. “I enjoy doing this work because it gives us the opportunity to be outside while taking care of the land the Conservancy protects. They have helped me look at conservation through a science & engineering lens, which has been a great learning experience.”
It is thanks to community volunteers, donors, and local organizations that Park City’s Bright Futures students like Vincente can thrive, regardless of present challenges. We wish Vincente good luck as he heads into his freshman year of college. Bright Futures will be there for him every step of the way until he graduates!