After finding success at Intel, Mechanical Engineer returns to U of I to pursue Master’s Degree
University of Idaho student Selso Gallegos has always had a passion for math and science. Combined with his enjoyment for taking things apart and putting them back together, his mechanical engineering journey began in fall 2013.
But he felt there was a missing piece going into the beginning of his studies: confidence. Reflecting on his undergraduate career now as a graduate student, he said he credits his success and growth to many resources, including the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Career Services, and his professors and mentors.
“Going through it (undergraduate degree), I gained skills that I needed,” Gallegos said. “I was gaining confidence that I could be successful in this field.”
Recognized as the male candidate for CAMP Student of the Year his first year and the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior in spring 2017, he credits his steady work ethic, self-discipline and passion for challenges.
He said his support from CAMP played a huge role in earning these successes, not just during his freshman year, but throughout his entire college career.
CAMP is a federal grant program that assists first year students from migrant and farm-working backgrounds. CAMP Director, Evelina Arevalos-Martinez, said the program assists students academically and financially, while providing social and cultural support.
“During Gallegos’s involvement in CAMP, he was recognized as Student of the Year due to his academic excellence, his dedication to his studies, his involvement with his cohort and the program, and his all-around respectful and humble attitude,” Arevalos-Martinez said.
Nearing his senior year, Gallegos felt graduation rapidly approaching and set his sights on obtaining his first full-time job. As he focused on post-graduate opportunities, he found additional support from resources beyond CAMP, primarily Career Services.
Through Career Services, Gallegos received one-on-one feedback on his resume with an advisor, attended valuable networking opportunities such as Vandal Networking Night and the Career Fair, and performed a mock interview to hone his interviewing skills and professionalism for his future employment opportunities.
“Everyone should use Career Services, they are super helpful,” Gallegos said. “All of the resources they have are really practical, and they teach you how to use them well.”
Shortly after graduation, he left Idaho, a place where he was born and raised, to begin his career at Intel as a Supply Chain Engineer in Chandler, Arizona. All his hard work and collaboration with Career Services paid off to find a job he loved, and one that allowed him to utilize the skills and experiences he developed at U of I.
After one-and-a-half years of success at Intel, he decided to take time off to pursue a master’s degree as a full-time student and could not imagine receiving a better education than that of his alma mater.
“I always had the goal of getting a master’s degree,” Gallegos said. “I contemplated taking courses at Arizona State University while still working at Intel, but I love U of I and wanted to conduct research and give back in some way. I am really considering going back to Intel after graduation.”
Gallegos returned to U of I in January 2019 to earn his Master of Science in Engineering. A 2-3 year program, Gallegos said he plans to earn his graduate degree in about one-and-a-half years with the help of summer courses and working on his thesis under the mentorship of his advisor.
One of Gallegos’s greatest passions is his ability to give back, and he has done so by tutoring students both in CAMP and being a mentor to others within the Engineering Department.
He said he is grateful for what the university has done for him, and he looks forward to being a proud U of I alum for years to come.
“It’s a part of me that I will have forever.”