Barry Au

Big Dreams

Barry Au
Wallenberg High School, 2008
CSU Long Beach, 2012 – Physics major:

The journey to college was almost unbearable. From the late night struggles to the dreadful, long mornings. We grew up in a poorly lit, mold growing, and cockroach infested studio with six children and two adults. Three boys slept in the walk-in closet, three girls in the smaller walk-in closet, and my parents in the living room. No heat, no warm water for long periods of time. My mom was unemployed all her life and has been living on Social Security compensation for over 25 years. My dad barely made more than minimum wage and was unemployed from 1990 to 1999. We ate nothing but preserved noodles and sometimes eggs with soy sauce as a banquet.

I am the only one in my family who will have graduated high school and attended college. What I did to get to college was short of a miracle. The odds were against me. I had to manage my priorities in a 24-hour time frame. I played basketball and worked. I studied every night until 2am. Graduating high school and going to college was important for my family.

My hope is to become the engineer who changes the world and receives a Nobel Prize for his research. I want to become one of the most influential people in the world. Big dreams? Maybe I am exaggerating. In fact, I just want to make enough money to pay for rent, utility bills, and food. Things that are essential to most people are a luxury for my family and me.

Donor: Eamonn Keegan
Mentor: Sam and Suzanne Palmer