Gonzalo Alcantar paves the way for engineering students
Gonzalo Alcantar didn’t really know what he was getting into when he first stepped onto the Kansas State University campus. As a first generation student, he didn’t have his parents’ experiences to guide him. However, K-State faculty, staff and older students helped him learn how to navigate college successfully.
To give back, and to help incoming freshmen, Alcantar helped start a new residential CAT Community for engineering students. As an industrial engineering student, Alcantar knows how hard it can be to not only adjust to the college atmosphere, but also to the rigors of a difficult major. The residential CAT Community provides engineering freshmen the opportunity to live together, take classes together and socialize together, creating an instant social and support network.
“I was presented with the opportunity to be part of creating the first residential CAT Community for engineering students when I was in my intro to general engineering course,” Alcantar said. “I saw this as an opportunity to help students who would be in my shoes when I first started at K-State. I had a passion for engineering, but I didn’t know where I fit in. I wanted to help those students who felt like they were in the same position I was.”
Alcantar is encouraged by how much his students grew during their time in the CAT Community. “I have seen many students shine and have a lot of growth from the first day in the community to the last,” Alcantar said. “The CAT Community gave them the chance to meet new people who were in the same situation that they were. I hope that during their time in the CAT Community they were able to feel less alone and gain a comfort level with their peers.”
After graduating from K-State, Alcantar hopes to work for a company that has the same values that his family and K-State instilled in him. “I hope to be at a company that values me and the diversity and perspectives I bring,” Alcantar said. “I have investigated many industries that I think would fit me and my passions. As an active person who loves the outdoors and working out, I would like to work within the sports/outdoors industry. However, if I find a company that aligns with my values and passions, then that is where I will be.”
Alcantar hopes he has served as a role model for others. “I hope that people can understand that it only takes passion and commitment to accomplish your goals,” Alcantar said. “Your work will reflect the passion you put in. I have faced a lot of adversity and even felt like it was too much to juggle. But I know that everything I am involved with is important to me, and it helps me develop, as well as helps others, in a positive way. The days may get long, but when I am doing what I love, I never have to work a day in my life.”