Ernesto Santillan travels from Mexico to earn his degree from Alcorn

Traveling to a destination hundreds of miles away from home can be a daunting task, especially for an 18-year-old. Senior Ernesto Santillan was faced with this challenge in 2011 when he decided to leave his home in San Luis Potosi, Mexico to pursue an education at Alcorn State University. Despite being fearful of the unknown, Santillan knew that if he wanted to make something of his life, he would have to step out of his comfort zone.

“Leaving my family and hometown to come to a new place without knowing anyone made me nervous,” said Santillan. “It was hard, but when you want to do something and you have the motivation to be what you want, there is no obstacle that will stop you from being successful. I knew sacrifices needed to be made.”

Santillan’s leap of faith will come to fruition Saturday, May 9 when he will earn his bachelor’s degree in electromechanical engineering at Alcorn’s 2015 Commencement. Santillan’s journey at Alcorn started when he was awarded a scholarship to play for the University’s tennis and football teams. Those scholarships have afforded Santillan the opportunity to be a part of Alcorn’s 2014 Men’s Tennis and Football championship winning teams. Santillan’s success didn’t stop there. In the midst of winning championships, he has managed to maintain a 3.95 grade point average, proving that students can be successful in sports and academics.

“It was very exciting to know that our practices produced good results. I feel proud to have been part of two talented and winning teams. Managing sports and schoolwork isn’t easy. It requires effort and sacrifices. My parents taught me how to be able to put forth my best effort in everything I do and how to manage my time wisely.”

Santillan credits the moral code that his parents embedded into his psyche for his ability to master college.

“My parents have always taught me and motivated me to put in a maximum effort in everything I do. My parents, along with the rest of my family, have been supporting me in everything I do. They have inspired me to be successful.”

The college experience has be an amazing adventure for Santillan. He said that the diversity at Alcorn and in the United States is something that he enjoyed the most.

“It has been awesome. College gave me an opportunity to meet new and diverse people, make new friends, have great professors and learn new things. Playing football and tennis on a college level was a great experience as well. I have made great memories from my four years of college.”