Eilbron Younan: Developing a Network With Like-Minded Students
Born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Turlock, California, Eilbron Younan was a curious child who loved to disassemble and reassemble his toys. His parents saw his genuine interest in understanding how things work and encouraged the behavior by purchasing old VCRs from local garage sales. Eilbron was able to tinker with - or, as he says, "basically destroy" - these VCRs.
Although Eilbron maintained that interest through school, he found himself with friends that didn’t share his same desire to pursue higher education. This left Eilbron stuck between maintaining friendships and attending college. Ultimately, Eilbron chose his education and started school at Merced College in California.
Letting go of his circle of friends was not the only challenge Eilbron faced while attending Merced: failure proved difficult as well. At first, failing exams and even a class left him feeling discouraged. Eventually, he was able to train himself to use these obstacles as motivation. Rather than letting the bad grade get to him, he used it to encourage himself to come back twice as strong the next time. For Eilbron, getting involved with the engineering club at Merced opened the door to an experience he never expected. He was approached by the club’s president and introduced to NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS).
This unique opportunity was what Eilbron had been waiting on since childhood, allowing him to use the skills and lessons he taught himself when he dismantled all of those VCRs. After completion of the online lesson requirements for NCAS, Eilbron qualified for the on-site workshop at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.
"NCAS was an eye opening experience, giving me the motivation I needed to continue my education and reach further in the STEM field," Eilbron said.
One of the most memorable experiences of his on-site visit was networking with fellow students who shared similar interests and long term goals, finally giving him the outside support he had missed in high school.
"Not only was it great to meet and network with others," Eilbron said, "but to work with them and see and hear their ideas was also a highlight of my NCAS experience!"
Attending NCAS highly influenced Eilbron to keep going on the path he’d set for his educational future and proved that he had what it took, despite the failures and challenges he had experienced up to this point.
A word of advice from Eilbron Younan to potential and future NCAS participants: "Keep it simple. Encourage each other even when things do not work accordingly. Involve EVERYONE during the on-site experience!"
-Eilbron Younan, Mechanical Engineering Major, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo