Vincent Pena is well-remembered by 21st Century Charter School at Gary, a GEO Foundation school, as a perseverant young man who earned an Associate’s Degree worth of credits. Vincent Pena is a Spanish speaking student who won both a Purdue Promise and 21st Century Scholars scholarship that allows him to attend Purdue University cost-free. Speaking with him now, he still has that same quiet perseverant attitude toward life. When asked what he considers to be success in his life, it isn’t a big pay check, a high position in a big company, or fame. He states that success in his life will be, “the ability to help others, make the world a better place, and improve society.”

He is now studying at Purdue University, and although he is a freshmen student, academically, he has second semester sophomore standing. He is planning on majoring in computer graphics and minoring in computer science. He is working towards those goals from the very get-go, his current classes—Tech 120, a design and innovation class that has students think about ways to solve campus problems such as traffic redirection, English, Calculus, and an elective are a part of his major requirements. Vincent’s long term goal is to complete the 3+2 program—he plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in computer graphics and his master’s degree in computer graphics technology in 5 years. Over the summer, Vincent spent 5 weeks in a program with other students taking classes and getting prepared for the semester to begin.

During this program, Pena attended classes: STEM ABC (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math—Academic Boot Camp), Pre-Calc, English, Spatial Visualization, and Computer Information Technology, in order to prepare him to start strong in his first semester classes. He attended this program through Purdue Promise, a program geared towards ensuring the success of first generation and low-income students at Purdue. Participating in the program allowed Vincent to get to know people and make friends before school began, get adjusted to dorm life, and become academically prepared before the semester began.

Vincent is adapting to life at Purdue seamlessly. He likes the large university campus and is excited to meet lots of different people, balanced with attending smaller sized classes. He lives in a learning community in which his hall and roommate are all studying computer graphics and technology, which is convenient so they can help each other. His GPA goal per semester is at least a 3.5.

He is currently in the process of joining an academic fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and participates in MTA, Minority Technology Association. He is also planning on getting internships in computer graphics and considers studying abroad in Australia over the summer. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball with friends and playing video games with his hall mates.