Ernesto Bañuelos

2012-13 Muse Scholar, North Lake College

Ernesto Bañuelos is passionate about becoming a mechanical engineer so that he can design robotic systems to help the disabled. He knows the challenges from personal experience: His mother suffered a brain-damaging stroke five years ago.

Since then, Ernesto has helped care for her and for his two younger siblings as she continues to recover. “The situation with my mother has made me stronger and more independent,” he says. “She has made so much progress, but I know she can still go far.”

Ernesto’s life experience has made him acutely conscious of the meaning of responsibility, and grateful that as a Muse scholar at North Lake College, he has at least one less thing on his plate. “Getting the Muse scholarship has meant the world to me,” he says. “It’s provided me a way to put more time into academics – I can dedicate more time to my schooling and to my family since I don’t have to work full-time to pay tuition and books.”

The Muse scholarships, established by prominent community leaders John and Lyn Muse, are awarded to students who demonstrate leadership potential, work ethic and the determination to succeed. “The mentoring has also been important… the fact that we get moral, as well as academic, support,” Ernesto says.

A former captain of the varsity swim team and water polo squad at Irving’s MacArthur High School, Ernesto gives swim lessons to elementary-school-age children at North Lake’s campus pool. While attending MacArthur, he also helped mentor elementary school students and prepare minority middle-schoolers for high school.

Photo of Ernesto Bañuelos and classmates in North Lake College physics lab.“I think one of the main barriers with minority students is that they don’t always have the support other students have, especially if their parents don’t speak English well,” Ernesto says. “The kids get discouraged and think they can’t go to college. Sometimes someone who has succeeded and gone on to college can really be a motivation because it shows what can be done.”

Though he was initially interested in architecture, his focus has shifted more towards mechanical engineering after working in Irving ISD’s STEM robotics program last summer. “ My goals include majoring in engineering and business and someday becoming an entrepreneur,” he says.

“I want to work in robotics and one day be able to come up with a product or service that will help society,” Ernesto adds. “I want to do something out of the ordinary, and I know that requires hard work and effort.”

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