skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Norlito Ranchez Jr.

Norlito Ranchez Jr. has lived in Utah for just two years, but during that short time, he’s accomplished things he never thought possible. 

Ranchez Jr. was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Maui. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in chemistry, though he wasn’t always sure how. 

“I am a first-generation student coming from a low-income family,” Ranchez Jr. said. “So, applying to colleges and trying to do adult things felt very difficult.”

But Ranchez Jr. was committed to his goals. He watched two older siblings go to college, anNorlito is in a chemistry lab at Weber State, he is working on an experiment and smiling.d he wanted the same for himself. 

He was first drawn to Weber State University for its affordable tuition. Plus, his sister lives nearby, so he was excited to gain some independence while maintaining family connections. 

Since moving here and starting classes, Ranchez Jr. has found support in various clubs and organizations, seen snow for the first time, traveled abroad, and excelled in several on-campus jobs — all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. 

Ranchez Jr. said he’s proud of his dedication: “Do it for you,” he said. “That’s what I always like to say.”

Ranchez Jr. credits some of his educational success to TRIO Student Support Services, a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Education that offers tutoring, textbook loans, financial aid and advising. 

Through TRIO, Ranchez Jr. has been accepted to selective leadership training programs, both nationally and internationally. Last summer, he spent three weeks in the Netherlands, learning about Dutch culture and education as part of TRIO’s Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program. He said these opportunities helped him overcome shyness and recognize the value he brings to a group. 

He tries to use the skills he’s learned to help others, whether that’s through his campus tutoring job or simply talking to his peers.

“I feel like no one should go through anything alone,” Ranchez Jr. said. “Especially with how many resources there are here at Weber.”

His dream career also revolves around supporting communities. He hopes to be a forensic scientist, assisting with crime scene investigations and contributing to a safer society. 

“My mantra is ‘Turn passion into action,’” he said. “I’ve been learning to come out of my shell, raise my voice and help others in my community.”