Mike Hauser Academy Success Story
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Mike Hauser Academy created a rocket scientist—at least if you ask recent college grad and Mike Hauser Academy Alumnus Nikko Mendoza. In June 2018, Nikko graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Aerospace Science & Engineering, an educational path and career trajectory that he fully attributes to his participation in the 2009 Academy.
“The Academy has made a huge impact on my life,” says Nikko. “I never knew what an engineer was or did until I attended the Academy. I was very fortunate to be in this program where I was able to visit excellent companies such as Agilent (now Keysight Technologies), Medtronic, and PG&E. Each company contributed significant experiences that shaped my aspirations to become a student of science, math, engineering, and curiosity.”
Graduating from the Academy before his freshman year at Roseland University Prep, Nikko diligently worked toward his goal of becoming the first in his family—a family that includes 5 older brothers and 1 older sister—to go to college, earning a spot in UC Davis’ competitive Aerospace Engineering program.
During his time at UC Davis, Nikko continued to give back to the Mike Hauser Academy and other youth-serving programs. He worked with programs in Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano counties that help underserved students gain an interest in STEM. Nikko also continued to serve his home community by speaking at Mike Hauser Academy graduations, RUP, and Community Action Partnership’s Youth Connection, sharing stories about his journey, encouraging students to persevere through difficulties, and inspiring youth to rise above expectations and achieve their educational goals.
“If it was not for the Academy—the excellent teachers, company volunteers, and the Chamber who made this program possible—I don’t know where I would be right now,” says Nikko. “I received direction and assurance that despite how I may look or where I came from, I can be an engineer who has the potential to change the world.”