Proud: Noel Luna

Setting the bar high made it possible for Noel Luna to be a first generation college student.  Someday he hopes it will help him be an entrepreneur for a company larger than both Apple and Microsoft.

Admitting that programming for the tech giants themselves would be a great opportunity, Luna was unable to even imagine going into the tech industry as a child living on the border of Nuevo León and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where only privileged families had computers.

Luna believes this was one of the ways Mexico has been able to challenge students more than American students in subjects like math and science. In Mexico, even a calculator is considered cheating in the classroom.

When not in school, much of Luna’s time went to migrant work. “As soon as I was able to do my multiplication tables, I was able to work in the fields.”

Ten hour workdays in sometimes 100 degree heat were draining but allowed Luna to appreciate the opportunity for an education at St. Edward’s University through the College Assistance Migrant Program.

“When you work for someone, [you] call them ‘patrones’…you always have to be on your feet, you can’t be slacking.”

As the youngest of three siblings and the first expected to graduate from college, Luna feels a lot of pressure to succeed, even though he never had a mentor.

At St. Edward’s though, Luna met a computer science professor who helped him find his passion for the subject. Luna recalls receiving a B on his first exam, motivating him to study even more, leading him to earn a 105 on the next exam.

“I have everything to be proud of,” Luna said on how he feels about his race. “I feel that Mexicans don’t get enough credit for what we are. Sometimes I was taught that Mexicans weren’t so smart or the best at this or the best at that, but I feel like I’ve proved all those people wrong… broken all those stereotypes.”

Concluding on an inspiring note, Luna said, “People have a low bar set for me, and I go above that bar. I’ve never settled for the average; I always challenge myself.”