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Native Californian finds refuge in the Midwest

A man in a jacket with Greek lettering stands with his hands in his pockets smiling at the camera.

Senior mechanical engineering major Marcus Hinojosa wears his new jacket from Lambda Theta Phi, a Latino fraternity that he joined this semester.

Marco Hinojosa came all the way from Sacramento, Calif., where he attended Mira Loma High School, to attend Mizzou.

“I knew that I wanted to move to the Midwest,” Hinojosa said. “After spending the first 17 years of my life growing up in a densely populated, urban city on the West Coast, I wanted to experience more of what the U.S. had to offer. I desperately needed a change of pace, and I found exactly what I wanted in Columbia: a smaller college town with a beautiful campus and plenty of opportunities to develop as a professional.”

Originally intending to major in accounting, Hinojosa found his niche in mechanical engineering. As a senior, he feels quite at home at Mizzou, and in Columbia, a college town with “opportunities around every corner.” Though that wasn’t always the case.

“Upon first arriving at Mizzou, I found that my first college experiences were more exaggerated compared to my in-state friends. Whereas their families lived in cities only hours away, my entire family lived on the other side of the country,” Hinojosa said. “Also, as a first-generation college student, I had to go through the learning process of securing essential things like financial aid, residency and employment on my own. It was a lot of pressure to deal with all at once, but it made me into a more experienced and developed individual.”

He said found life as a college student to be liberating and he loved the independence, but it was very intimidating at first.

“It was exactly what I needed to mature,” he added.

In addition to additionally pursing business, aerospace and math minors, Hinojosa spends time working at TigerTech, the technology division of the Mizzou Store located in the MU Student Center. He also is a member of the Mizzou 3-D Printing Club and a member of Lambda Theta Phi, “a social fraternity celebrating Latin culture and working to promote Latin unity and equality.”

Before he graduates, Hinojosa plans to try his hand at undergraduate research and maybe join an engineering competition team. He also would like to obtain an internship or co-op opportunity where, he said, he can add value to a company while gaining job experience and hands-on engineering skills.

“Going to college is a scary decision that many young adults have to face,” Hinojosa said. “The resources offered by Mizzou’s College of Engineering allow students to feel more prepared as they venture into unknown territory. With highly respectable staff and faculty, the frequent career fairs and the numerous clubs and organizations available to join, I believe students who make the right choices are very well-equipped to find employment and be successful engineers.”