LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Eduardo Gomez’s family has a long history of proving people wrong.
“My grandpa was actually a mechanical engineer. Someone once told him, because he had a disability that he wouldn’t be able to become an engineer and he proved them wrong,” Gomez said.
Gomez was born in Brazil and was adopted at six-months old. He lived in Saginaw for over 20 years before moving too Lansing.
“My childhood was actually pretty good,” Gomez said. “I think I had a normal childhood, a lot of friends, went places, to the movies, anything anybody else did. It wasn’t any different just because i was adopted.”
Gomez has dreamed of also becoming an engineer, but like his grandfather, has faced doubters.
“Someone once told me to my face, “I don’t think you’ll ever be an engineer” because I was a black person. So that right there motivated me across all boards to go back to school,” Gomez said.
But like many people, the financial pressures of college forced Gomez to work full-time while trying to take classes. It was eventually just too much and he put school on hold. Then he got laid off. First from General Motors and then from the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“It seems like because I didn’t have a degree it was always the barrier because you don’t have a degree so you’re always the most likely cut person.”
Gomez eventually landed a job at Amazon. One day, while surfing through Instagram, he saw something from Outlier.org that caught his eye. A scholarship aimed at helping frontline workers like him.
“I don’t have the money to go to school right now so when they offered that scholarship I applied for it and ended up getting it and it meant a lot to me,” Gomez said.
In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, the scholarship offers a thousand frontline workers a free college course, allowing people like Gomez a chance to follow their dreams.
“It’s like a beacon of hope for other people who are front line workers who feel like they can’t do anything right now,” Gomez said. “If it’s one class or if it’s a whole degree, there could be options out there. So I just want to let anybody know at least in this area in Lansing they do have an option and hopefully they can get into that option and get back into school or finish what they started at least here in the area.”
The scholarship through Outlier.org remains open to frontline workers.
This scholarship is available for the first 1,000 eligible applicants who complete a questionnaire and short video submission.