QCC alum Ronald Quijada

Growing up in Worcester with a passion for engineering, Ronald Quijada's educational journey led him from Worcester Technical High School to Quinsigamond Community College and culminated with a transformative scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and a transfer to UMass Lowell. His path to higher education shows what can be accomplished with support systems that build confidence and connection, while easing the burden of financial stress.

During high school, Quijada studied robotics automation technology in a co-op program with Valmet (formerly Metso Corporation), which not only provided valuable experience, but also offered a scholarship to attend QCC. This, combined with another scholarship from QCC, set the foundation for his college career.

Inspired by his older brother who had also attended QCC, Quijada enrolled in the Engineering program, pursuing his long-standing interest in the field. He began his studies in-person but had to adapt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. While remote learning was difficult at times, he was supported by encouraging faculty members and participation in groups such as Phi Theta Kappa and Brothers & Keepers.

Reflecting on his journey, Quijada acknowledges additional challenges he faced, including feelings of burnout from summer classes and moments of doubt. However, he draws inspiration from the immigrant experience of his parents, who came from El Salvador in the 1980s and struggled to build a better life for their family. Their sacrifices and aspirations for him serve as a constant motivation to persevere.

After graduating from QCC in 2021, Quijada continued his studies at UMass Lowell. It was here that he received a scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), which was particularly impactful AND provided not only financial assistance, but also networking opportunities. He fondly recalled attending a four-day HSF Entrepreneurship Conference in Los Angeles, an experience that broadened his horizons and taught him valuable networking skills.

The abundance of scholarships and support allowed him to focus on his studies without stressing over finances. This support extended to his transfer to UMass Lowell, where he recently completed a bachelor's degree in engineering. The scholarships even enabled him to live on campus, providing a new step in his adult life that saved time and energy that he would have been spent on commuting.

Looking ahead, Quijada is exploring various career paths in electrical engineering. He's also entertaining entrepreneurial ambitions, such as starting a computer repair or 3-D printing business, and has an interest in the automotive industry. As he prepares to enter the workforce, he carries with him a wealth of knowledge, a network of supportive relationships and a deep appreciation for the opportunities that have brought him to this point in his journey.

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