For me, being a Gates Scholar is a gift to become great so that you can help others become great.
"I was ten, and I had these two broken MP3 players, and they both had enough working parts for one of them to actually work. So I took them both apart, and then I put one back together, and it didn't work. I did it again, and it didn't work. I did it again, and it still didn't work. I got so frustrated that I stopped. I thought to myself, 'I don't ever want to not be able to do this. I want to know how this works and how to put this together.'
"I'm a part of this group on campus called Engineering Success Alliance (ESA). When I came in, that was my support group for engineering. They helped me a lot throughout my first two semesters. I literally wouldn't be a sophomore engineer if I weren't a part of that group. Now, I'm a mentor. Before this semester started, I began mentoring the new class and I absolutely loved it. It was a completely different experience moving from being in their shoes as a freshman to being a mentor — I wanted to give them everything I learned so they wouldn't fall through the same cracks I did.
"When I was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, I realized the foundation believes that if they give you this opportunity, you're going to give back — you're going to open the door for somebody else, and that's why I love being a mentor. For me, being a Gates Scholar is a gift to become great so that you can help others become great. Keep passing on opportunity. Keep opening doors for other people. My mom taught me that you rise to the top, but you give back. To every place that ever helped you, give back.
"The constant pace of engineering never slows down, and there's only one way to get through it: to work with other people. There's a core group of guys from ESA I work with from Sunday to Sunday. One day last semester, we were just looking around online. Google started at Stanford; it was google.stanford.edu. Fed Ex was started by students in college. Huge companies started in college. And we just thought, 'Why can't that be us? Why can't we say our company started at Bucknell? Our resources are almost unlimited here, so why not be that next group of college students that makes something that becomes something even before graduating?' I don't want to just graduate with a degree. I want to graduate and establish something."
Reginald is from Philadelphia, Pa.
Posted November 19, 2015
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