When Brian Ortiz sets a goal, he pursues it – no matter how long it will take him to get there.

Born with a heart condition called Ebstein’s Anomaly, Brian must take things a little slower to maintain his health. In 2019, he had surgery that came with complications – but he is pressing on with not only completing his associate degree, but with an internship in Washington, DC, and as a semi-finalist for the prestigious nation-wide Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship.

Born and raised in the Humboldt Park/Logan Square area, he graduated from Prosser Career Academy in 2012. He tried college right away, but found it wasn’t a good fit for him mentally or financially. He decided to go to work for AmeriCorps as a GED teaching assistant at a non-profit called Association House. When he finished his service with AmeriCorps, he was hired on part-time at Association House. Now that he had the funds, he could go back to school, and in the spring of 2015 started taking classes at Wright College.

“I chose Wright because I’ve been interested in IT since high school and I was involved in a club that let us intern within the school setting up and supporting staff with tech. Since IT is Wright’s center of excellence, I knew it was the right school for me,” he said.

While studying at Wright, Brian has been very involved as secretary of the IT Club, part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and as a member of the Student Government Association.

“My experience at Wright has been so personal. I feel like I can go up to anyone and ask questions,” he said.

Now, Brian has landed an internship with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to work in IT support for the U.S. Census for the semester. For now, he’s focused on his internship and his final semester at Wright before transferring to a four-year university to pursue his bachelor’s degree in computer science.

His advice to others is, “have the passion, have the persistence, and be hopeful. Keep pursuing your goal, whatever it is – it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. You will get there eventually.”

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