Living on his own since he was 17 years old, Adrian Barrera has learned a number of skills that have helped him personally, but at the same time has developed selfless human qualities that have enriched his young life.
Helping other students pursue and realize their higher education dreams in his dual roles at WNC is part of the reason Barrera has been selected as the 2017 Coca-Cola New Century Scholarship recipient through his association with Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
“I feel that Adrian’s maturity, optimism and calm demeanor have helped him balance a busy school and work load, as well as allowing him to strengthen the community,” said WNC English instructor Mary Gillespie, who nominated Barrera for the scholarship. “Adrian’s application stood out quite a bit this year, in terms of the service element along with academic excellence.”
Barrera is a cohort coach for WNC’s dual-credit Jump Start College academic program and a peer mentor specialist for Gear Up. WNC’s Gear Up program focuses on increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. He encourages and educates high school students about their higher education opportunities at WNC through financial and career workshops. As a cohort coach for Jump Start, Barrera has been mentoring and tutoring Yerington High School students in the dual-credit classes they’re enrolled in through WNC.
“I am helping them any way I can,” Barrera said. “What WNC is doing through Jump Start is amazing and I’m glad I’m part of that.”
Coca-Cola annually recognizes a scholar from each state with a $2,000 scholarship. It also honors students from Washington, D.C.; Canada; and from sovereign nations and U.S. territories with PTK chapters. All of these students receive special recognition at the American Association of Community Colleges spring convention.
The scholarship is designed to provide Phi Theta Kappa members with financial resources as they pursue associate degrees in two-year colleges and also encourages participation in PTK programs. For Barrera, the scholarship money helps ease some of the financial stress as a young adult.
“It’s been an adventure to do things on my own; it keeps me on my toes,” Barrera said. “This scholarship helps me pay for tuition and takes away some of the stress.”
Barrera will graduate from WNC with an Associate of Business degree in May and already is working toward his bachelor’s in business marketing at University of Nevada, Reno. With some of his goals already realized, Barrera shared his utmost aspiration.
“You always have to have that dream job, and that would be marketing for Nike,” Barrera said. “To market that big of a brand internationally, that would be the ultimate goal.”