College of Engineering

A foundation for success

A company match helped Nick Rivera give back even more to the college that gave so much to him.

Nick Rivera (ENG ’14) credits Illinois for giving him a strong foundation for success as a first-generation, Hispanic college student. The leadership skills he gained as a student have stuck with him as he entered the workforce.

Nick earned his degree in nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering. He was actively involved in several student organizations on campus, including the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers, the American Nuclear Society, Engineering Open House, and Engineering Council. He also received several meritorious honors on campus and was a member of the Undergraduate Scholars Program, the Morrill Engineering Program, and the Hoeft Technology and Management Minor.

“Receiving scholarships eliminated many of the financial obstacles and allowed me to focus more on my academics and leadership roles.” — Nick Rivera

One of Nick’s most noteworthy accomplishments was receiving an Engineering Visionary Scholarship. Although Nick paid for most of his education on his own through loans, savings and campus employment, he said the Engineering Visionary Scholarship gave him new opportunities.

“Receiving scholarships eliminated many of the financial obstacles and allowed me to focus more on academics and leadership roles,” he said.

Although he continues to pay toward his student loans, he has given back to Illinois. He doubled the impact of his gift by taking advantage of his company’s matching gift opportunity. Nick’s company matched his gift to Illinois dollar-for-dollar.

After benefiting from the Engineering Visionary Scholarship, Nick knows how important private support is, and hopes his story will inspire others to give and to look into their organization’s matching gift policy. “Every action you make contributes to the story of a student,” he said. “If you have the opportunity to visit the Illinois campus, take the time to hear those stories and further discover how your contributions are materialized.”

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