Sitting on his grandfather's roof, Kenny Diaz knew that he someday wanted to explore the complexity of the sky. He finally had his opportunity after four combat tours with the U.S. Navy. He knew Howard Community College (HCC) would allow him to explore the stars.
At HCC, Kenny developed strong relationships with his professors who encouraged him to follow his passion and never quit exploring the unknown.
“Howard Community College helped me to conquer my fears,” he said. “Without the support and encouragement from the remarkable faculty and staff, I could not have done what I have achieved today.”
Kenny graduated from HCC and transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he recently contributed to an ongoing research project about the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) that tests exoplanet data for false positives.
“It’s the entire fascination with being part of something for a bigger purpose,” he said. “The universe intrigued me, and I want to be the person who shares the knowledge to everyone in the most simple way.”
While studying at the University of Maryland, Kenny has continued working part time at the HCC Welcome Center. He serves as a student coordinator, tutoring and providing resources to help students succeed.
His goal is to earn three bachelor’s degrees in physics, astronomy, and mathematics, followed by a master’s degree astrophysics and Ph.D.
He is a stellar example of how pushing yourself past your limits can help you reach your goals.
“Don't be afraid to try.” he says. “If you want to achieve high goals in life, be humble, be yourself, and don't be afraid to spread yourself.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.