Bryan Escobedo: Sacrifice and Achievement

Positivity & Justice

March 27, 2024

by Eliza Fry, Marketing Manager, Goddard School of Business & Economics

How much would you be willing to sacrifice for a better life?

If you were Bryan Escobedo’s parents, the answer would be everything.

Twenty years ago, Bryan’s father and mother left their hometown of Jerez, Zacatecas in Mexico and emigrated to Utah to in the hopes of giving themselves and their future family a better future. They quickly established themselves in Utah and had three sons, the oldest of which was Bryan.

Bryan’s parents faced many challenges in providing a better life for their sons. They didn’t speak English, which meant limited opportunities for employment. But they are hard workers and were determined to carve out a good life for themselves and their children. Bryan grew up watching his parents work long hours - his father as a construction worker and his mother in concessions – so that he and his 2 brothers could have all the opportunities his parents’ efforts could provide. Along the way, the family has had to make many sacrifices to make ends meet.

His parents’ hard work demonstrated to Bryan the importance of family, the skill of living frugally, and the incalculable value of education. His parents regularly encouraged him and his brothers to seek out and seize educational opportunities that would improve their situations and potential. His parents’ emphasis on education as a path to a better life instilled in Bryan a desire to pursue advanced education, no matter what challenges stood in his way.

In Bryan’s words, “It would be selfish not to take advantage of the sacrifices they have made for me.”

When Bryan was a child, his family was in a near-fatal car accident involving a head-on collision with a semi-truck. Bryan, his parents, and his younger brother were all hospitalized with injuries. Of all of them, Bryan was the most injured, with severe damage to his upper body. Doctors wanted to amputate his arm but were dissuaded by Bryan’s uncle, who managed to convince the doctors to transfer Bryan to a hospital in Texas where they were able to not only save his arm but re-build his hands using stem cells from his stomach. It took 2 years of surgical work and painful recovery before Bryan was able to leave the hospital.

Despite this setback, Bryan focused on his dreams. He discovered a talent for soccer and by the time he was a senior in high school he was being actively recruited by colleges across the country. Once again, however, barriers that seemed insurmountable stood in his way. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the soccer games he needed to impress recruiters were canceled or delayed, and then a ripped muscle in his leg put him out of consideration for the colleges he longed to attend.

Bryan found himself reevaluating his plans of using a soccer scholarship to achieve the college experience he wanted. While assessing his options, he enrolled in a semester at Weber State. During that semester at Weber, he took a class from Dr. Randy Boyle – MIS 2020: Intro to Information Systems. In that class, Dr. Boyle introduced Bryan to the basics of Technology Systems, networks, and spoke about the possibilities of succeeding in a career in information systems.

Prior to Dr. Boyle’s class, Bryan would never have thought technology the right field for him. He thought that this field was only suited to a certain personality type, or those who were already proficient in advanced math and computer science. However, he quickly learned that information systems skills are learnable at any level, and that the professors at Weber State are ready and waiting to teach anyone willing to learn.

Dr. Boyle’s explanation of information systems careers ignited Bryan’s imagination. The program—and the positive work-life balance made possible by an information systems career—spoke to Bryan in a way that other career paths hadn’t. He had always known that what he wanted was a good life for his family and himself, but now he saw a career that would provide a way for him to reach his ambition of being at the top level in a field that interested him and would make it possible for him to live a full life. The more he learned, the more excited he became. He enrolled in the program, and now is an MIS major, set to graduate in 2025. His focus in his degree is cybersecurity and networking, giving him an expertise that will give him a competitive edge when he embarks upon his career.

Bryan’s hard work and commitment to educational excellence has been recognized during his time at Weber State. This summer, Bryan will be one of a handful of WSU students that will be heading to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for a seven-week fellowship program. The partnership with CMU, which is ranked as the nation’s #1 graduate program for information security and information management, gives MIS students the opportunity to complete a study with leading experts in the field and work with real-world clients on applied projects. Mellon Fellows, or those participating in the internship, are also enrolled in three intensive cybersecurity courses. Unusually, CMU covers all of the fellowship costs, including airfare, food, housing, tuition, and a stipend. The most valuable perk, however, may come after the internship, as fellows who finish the program and are admitted to a master’s program in CMU’s Heinz College automatically qualify for a scholarship covering at least half of tuition, a $55,000 value. Historically speaking, 99% of WSU students that have completed the internship successfully have been accepted to the CMU master’s program. See more about this amazing program here.

Although the road to Weber has been anything but smooth, Bryan is headed for great things. He exemplifies everything that is excellent about Weber State University, with an admirable work ethic and impressive determination to excel and succeed. He pushes through every obstacle and lifts those around him with his optimism and determination. We are certain there is nothing but great success in his future and can’t wait to see how far he goes.