The majority of teenagers despise their parents nagging, but I was deprived of incessant parental reminders, such as: “Andy go clean your room!” When I was twelve years old, my parents went through a harsh divorce. My dad relocated to Vietnam and my mom decided to move to Wyoming. Back then I longed to have parents who would be available to teach me how to drive or lecture me before my first date, but all that I received were a few checks to compensate for them not being in my life. Both started new lives with their new families, and neither of them asked me to go along with them. Instead, my aunt took me into her household. She is the “mother” with whom I still live with to this day.
With all of these drastic changes, it became necessary for me to grow up quickly. Not wanting to be dependent on my guardians, I strove to be self-reliant from the beginning. Part of me was definitely frightened at the pace at which I was obtaining crucial life skills, and learning how to provide for myself, such as preparing my own food. However, the other part of me wanted to prove to my family, especially my parents, that I was capable of surviving on my own. I wanted to prove to them that I was a son they should have wanted to keep. I wanted them to appreciate me, to be proud that I was their son.
I appreciate the struggles that I overcame: without them, I would not have become the self-sufficient young man I am. The world of my family—my aunt, grandma, and myself—has prepared me well to attend an institution of higher education. Rather than using my past as an excuse to slack off, I allowed it to feed my ambition and to emulate the performances of others who were better off. I have realized that after having few resources and being engaged in technology, I shaped a vision of a world where anyone, regardless of social class, has access to the resources they need.
I hope to achieve this by improving the software or mechanics of three-dimensional printers, which are able to turn digital files into tangible three-dimensional objects, to enable them to complete more tasks and be more accessible to everyone. To do this I want to start a company that sells 3D printers that are designed for corporate and home use. For every printer that an individual, group, or company buys we will donate a printer to a sponsored organization, community, or school located in places where resources are scarce. The goal of this company is not only to give the students the resources they need, but also to motivate them to pursue careers in science and technology.
Thanks to your support Andy was awarded a $1,000 sponsorship in February 2014!