Emanuel (Manny) Cuevas

Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Major: A senior working toward a bachelor's degree in industrial distribution/industrial technology in the College of Technology. Earned an associate of science degree in organizational leadership and supervision in 2008.

Educational and career goals: Work in the aerospace industry, particularly in technical operations and supply chain, and earn an MBA.

Inspirational Purdue woman: Amelia Earhart, aviatrix, aviation pioneer, Purdue counselor in the study of careers for women and an adviser in aeronautics. Cultural icon.

Spreading his own wings, breaking down barriers: Manny, a recipient of the 2009 Amelia Earhart Scholarship based on academic merit and leadership, says Earhart achieved milestones that continue to inspire and influence women and men all over the world.

“Despite the gender inequalities that existed in her time, Amelia remained focused and achieved greatness,” Manny says. “Being first-generation Mexican American — and the first in my family to attend college — I know firsthand what it is like to face barriers and experience situations that impede your progress. Like Amelia, I defy stereotypes and stay determined to achieve my goals. Every single day, I strive for what Amelia conquered in her lifetime by becoming the best in my chosen field of study and through diversity."

Inspired to lead by example: “I am one of the 14 percent of minority students in the College of Technology and one of the very few Hispanics. I feel obligated to represent the smaller percentile of minority students. So few Hispanics go on to pursue a higher education, and I aim to change this pattern and motivate other Hispanics to do so as well. This is part of what motivates me to excel in life and achieve my goals.”

Embracing the Purdue experience: Campus activities include the Technology Student Ambassadors, Professional Association for Industrial Distribution, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honour Society.

Manny’s advice to fellow and future Purdue students: “You must understand that anything in life can be achieved so long as you are determined. People who succeed and overcome life's inevitable obstacles are those who plan for the worst and know how to deal with a tough situation before it actually occurs. Staying alert and aware of your surroundings will always benefit the situation. Just like my mother used to tell me as a child, ‘El camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente’ or ‘The shrimp that falls asleep gets carried away by the current.’"

By Grant Flora