Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?
CU Boulder offered a variety of opportunity, classes and fields of study. The GoldShirt Program gave me another opportunity to prove myself to be a successful first-generation student in the college of engineering. I wanted to make the most of that opportunity here at CU Boulder.
What does #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?
Growing up I never fit in. I was a complex individual and didn’t really identify with any crowd. I felt I wasn’t smart enough for the nerds, I wasn’t cool enough for the popular crowd, and wasn’t athletic enough for the athletes. To me #iloollikeanengineer represents that sometimes stereotypes don’t fit the person and that people are complex and anyone with enough passion, ambition, and hard work can be an engineer.
What are three things that make you unique?
- I am a first-generation Hispanic college student.
- K-12 I was homeschooled. It taught me to be independent and self-sufficient and is a big part of who I am today.
- I am an artist that’s decent at math. I wanted to be a concept artist and love music. I wanted a challenge so I instead chose to now be an Architectural Engineer.
What are your career goals?
I want to use my academic career and engineering skills to better the lives of those less fortunate than I am. I want to start my own enterprise in third-world development finding innovative ways to give to those who need it most.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
‘It’s the little foxes that ruin the vines”. I say it a lot to remind myself the little things make a big difference in the end.
What are your hobbies?
I love the outdoors! Fishing, hiking, camping. I love the Broncos and spending time with life giving people!
What do you enjoy most about engineering?
I enjoy the challenge and gaining knowledge. Completing my goals and gaining knowledge in the process feeds a part of your ambition that nothing else can.
What is your favorite engineering experience?
Staying up till 5 a.m. to finish homework or a project; to walk outside and hear the dead silence and in all that stress and tiredness you look up and think to yourself... yeah, I made it.
Anything else you'd like to tell us?
I am an artistic individual who doesn’t fit the look or mold of an engineer. I wasn’t the brightest as a kid but I had the drive and motivation to reach my goals and strive for success in college. I am now a lead intern of a research lab making tactile books for the visually impaired. I run a program at CU Boulder that takes CU students to Ecuador to help in disaster relief and sustainable development. I am a GoldShirt Scholar and a mentor for the program and love leaving something for the next generation of students to take with them. I strive to help, inspire and motivate others in our effort together to make a difference in this world.
Elijah Gonzalez, e+ Civil Engineering and Entrepreneurship, 2020