Michael Gonzales’ parents are engineers and so is his older brother. Considering his family background, it’s not a shock that he’s following a similar path. However, his field of study was never a given, and neither was his choice of college.
Currently pursuing an associate degree in computer engineering, Michael recently answered a few questions about his journey to Howard Community College:
How much did your parents’ background influence you in studying engineering?
“I took it with a grain of salt. They enjoy their engineering but I didn’t want to do it just because they were doing it. I kept my mind open. I tried the engineering track “Project Lead the Way” through high school, and found that I really enjoyed it.”
What do you like about engineering?
“Some of my favorite things to do are ‘what if’ questions. I like innovation. My dad always complained about little things and wondering if there could be a project for them. With my brother also being an engineer, it was a fun little brain dump. It works out perfectly.”
How did your brother’s career path impact you?
“He’s five years older than me and graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2018. I was considering doing that but I didn’t want to do the exact same thing. So I explored different options. I thought I was going straight to College Park until I learned about the HCC program and the success it’s had.”
What convinced you that HCC was the right choice?
“The (James W.) Rouse Scholars program was a big draw because it focused on leadership development and research development. It was exactly what I was looking for in college. I had a lot of work under my belt from high school and I wanted more leadership opportunities throughout college.”
How has the experience been?
“I think I’ve gotten more out of it than I could’ve gotten at College Park. I’ve worked with Student Life in a way that wouldn’t be possible at such a big school. And with the intimate classes, I actually know all of my professors. I have friends at College Park who don’t know their professors because they don’t see them or the class is too big to build a relationship.
“I was on the fence about how good the education would be. But since some of my engineering classes are smaller, I get more of an education out of them. I can apply some of the lessons we’re learning. My friends at College Park are just learning a bunch of concepts but I can’t say confidently they know exactly what they’re doing.”
What do you like best about your decision?
“Every aspect of the education and social activities. I’ve done a lot of networking and built a really good network out of it. I’m glad I didn’t go blindly to College Park thinking that was the best course of action.”