A love of computers inspires Yuma native to pursue a degree in information technology
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.
Growing up in Yuma, Arizona, it’s hard to imagine a life beyond the lush green acres of produce that many families depend upon for income. Generations of farmworkers here help provide more than 90% of the nation’s winter vegetables. It’s a life Arizona State University Polytechnic graduating senior Israel Delgado was expected to pursue.
But Delgado had different plans. As a child, he dreamt of playing baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That changed while attending Cibola High School, where an “aha” moment cemented his life trajectory and decision to attend ASU and major in information technology on the Poly campus.
“I had an IT class, and my teacher, Mr. Felix, introduced me to the wonderful world of IT and all the cool things that can be done in this field,” Delgado said. “I love computers and I also love helping people and being able to combine both is amazing.”
Navigating the college experience alone as a first-generation student was scary and challenging, Delgado said. His parents, Rosa and Eusebio Delgado, are profoundly proud of their son and have supported him in any way possible. But for Israel, it was his participation in the President Barack Obama Scholars Program that made his attendance at ASU a reality.
“My family are my biggest supporters and come from the agricultural industry, so it seemed weird that I did not want to pursue that. But they have always had my back in my decisions for picking a school and career. Without them, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to pursue a higher education. And without the scholarship, I would not have been able to afford an education,” he said.
As the first person to attend college in his family, it was easy for Delgado to get caught up in the excitement of university life. Meeting new friends, expanding horizons and spending days studying and hanging out at the ASU Polytechnic campus student union cemented his feelings that ASU was the right fit for him. Delgado also helped create a great student experience for other Sun Devils as the supervisor of the Poly student union, coordinating with student organizations and helping host events. Becoming a Sun Devil taught Delgado an important life lesson about balancing school, life and activities.
“Something I have learned at ASU is to have realistic expectations,” he said. “I learned that the hard way during my sophomore year, when I was really overwhelmed with my course load and, as a result, did poorly that year.”
Many students are influenced in the course of their college career by professors who challenge and inspire them, and Delgado is no different. Looking back at the teachers who helped mold him into the successful graduating senior he is today, it was undergraduate program chair Damien Doheny’s sage advice in Delgado’s ASU 101 course that he took to heart.
“Professor Doheny’s networking classes gave me a realistic view to how it is in the (IT) industry, and he is for sure a tough teacher, but man do you learn a ton in his classes,” Delgado said.
Moving back to his hometown after graduation, Delgado will pursue a career first as an IT technician, and then will work on becoming a network engineer. He will also continue indulging in his love of cars, football, computers and video games. And now that it’s time to put on his maroon and gold cap and gown, Delgado is grateful for the experiences he has had as a Sun Devil and the ability to return home and support his parents as they have supported him.
“The most rewarding part of my college career would definitely be crossing that finish line in May,” Delgado reflected. “Going home and knowing that I am going to be able to support my family and pay them back for all the sacrifices they have made over the years to get me where I am today is so rewarding.”
Written by Christine Wolfe, EOSS marketing