Meet E’Quacy Parker, Cal Poly Pomona graduate and Systems Engineer with technology and innovation leader, Raytheon Company, specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world.
As a first-gen college graduate, E’Quacy is committed to pursuing a career in Aerospace Engineering and is grateful for Students Rising Above, who was “the backbone in his ambition to complete college and pursue his career goals.”
Now in his first year of his dream career path, E’Quacy is giving back to SRA on a bimonthly basis. We are truly inspired by E’Quacy’s ambition, tenacity and generosity!
Read on to learn about E’Quacy’s giving inspiration and college-to-career journey.
What inspired you to give back to Students Rising Above?
E’Quacy: Since high school, I made a commitment to start a philanthropic journey to help empower others to pursue a passion in STEM. What better way to give back than to support the organization that pushed me to be where I am today.
Let’s talk about that journey – What was the college application process like? What led you to Cal Poly Pomona?
E’Quacy: For me, the college application process wasn’t too intimidating as attending a four-year college was a lifelong dream of mine and I understood that I had to stay focused to make it happen.
With that said, there are so many application deadlines to keep track of and SRA really helped with this. My SRA Advisor, Robin, was great at this process and kept me on track. It was Robin who suggested I visit Cal Poly Pomona and I loved everything about it – from the diversity among the professors and student body to their robust Aerospace department.
What led you to your initial interest in Aerospace Engineering? When did you know you wanted to pursue Engineering as a career path?
E’Quacy: It all began in middle school when I took an interest in and excelled at Biology. From there, I got really into watching astrophysics videos and then it was my high school freshman English teacher who recommended Aerospace as a potential career path. It all took off from there!
Engineering and defense security are competitive industries – How did SRA help make it all happen?
E’Quacy: Overall, SRA was the backbone in my ambition to complete college and pursue my passion of a career in Aerospace Engineering. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Students Rising Above.
While at Cal Poly Pomona, SRA helped me get my foot in the door through extensive internships, which really built out my resume, even before graduation. I was so fortunate to have worked with a great team of people at both Motive Power and BART, building unique skill sets with a focus in risk management and systems engineering.
These internships provided me with the functional job experience I needed to be a competitive candidate upon graduation and for this I am forever grateful. Additionally, it was my SRA mentor who connected me with networking opportunities, opening the door to my current role.
Was there anyone specific at SRA that impacted you the most?
E’Quacy: My SRA Advisor, Robin! She was my academic mother and always made sure I was happy mentally and emotionally. It was so nice to know that someone was there, looking out for my best interest academically and overall.
What key qualities do you think makes a good leader?
E’Quacy: Having an open-mind, patience and humility. My mom had all of these qualities; she opened my mind to the world and always challenged me.
What does Students Rising Above mean to you?
E’Quacy: SRA means the one thing that helped me see the bigger picture at the end of the day. No matter what you’ve gone through, you can achieve great things through dedication, hard work, time and building relationships with people. With those four things, anything can happen.