Scholar Spotlight: College Scholar Joseph Saiz

Saiz_Joseph_(2In his eight years as a member of the Jack Kent Cooke Scholar community, as a former Young Scholar and current College Scholar, Joseph Saiz’s world has changed tremendously.

Joseph grew up in a small town in Wisconsin “that was lacking for diversity and world scope,” he says. In his time as a Young Scholar, Joseph traveled across the county each year to attend summer enrichment programs.

“In high school, the Foundation let me see the world,” he said. “Going to summer programs and traveling for archery allowed me to be exposed to people and cultures I would have never dreamed of. It allowed me to become the person I am today.”

Familiar with the small town environment, Joseph knew he wanted a college with a similar feel. He told his educational adviser he wanted a small college with a great collaborative learning atmosphere and a tightknit student community. After deciding between two schools, Joseph said he chose the University of Notre Dame because “I felt the culture fit with me better. When you attend the University of Notre Dame, you’re part of the Notre Dame family. It’s similar to a network, but it’s so much more.”

Joseph is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in corporate practices. He hopes to find a career that will allow him to combine his passions of problem solving, math, business, leadership, and working with others. Eventually he plans on earning an MBA.

In addition to his classwork, Joseph is also involved in different activities on campus. Last year he began working with a professor researching “the effects of phase change on thermal conductivity properties of materials.” In the fall, he will be a resident advisor for freshmen in his dorm. He plans to join the Notre Dame SAE Mini-Baja team. The team designs and builds a mini-baja buggy and then competes in races against other teams from around the world. Joseph is spending his summer as a mechanical engineering intern with a defense contractor in Maryland.

In thinking about his time as a Scholar, Joseph said he’s changed in so many ways since he first received that phone call saying he was accepted as a Young Scholar.

“If it weren’t for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, I wouldn’t have dreamt half as big as I do now,” he said. “When I got the scholarship in 8th grade, I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t make goals, and I definitely didn’t think far into the future. The Foundation taught me the importance of goals and setting up action steps to meet those goals; it opened up my eyes to the fact that the world is full of possibilities and I can accomplish anything I want if I put enough work into it.”