The Charmed Life

Gilberto and Homero Sosa would be, by all accounts, considered by many to have incredible luck. As young men they were able to secure scholarships to attend both Phoenix College and Arizona State University. During their undergraduate education, they received numerous honors. Gilberto was selected as one of 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 in Phoenix in 2015 and received the Rising Star Award from the Phoenix College Alumni Association.

Both brothers set a record as the first set of twins to earn the Sam and Ida Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award from Arizona State University (ASU). Upon graduating from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, they received multiple offers of employment from such impressive companies as Google and Dell. Both are also looking at masters programs at Wharton (i.e. Homero) and Harvard (i.e. Gilberto).

On outward appearances, they seem to have lived a charmed and easy American life built through their own determination.

However, after spending time with the Sosa brothers, one comes to see the role family, confidants, and mentors have played in forming their future success.

Education Shifts the Balance

The sons of immigrants, the brothers came to the United States at the age of 11. With little to no formal education, their parents worked very hard at low-income jobs and did whatever it took to earn a decent wage. Because of their sacrifices, they did not want their sons to struggle in adulthood. They instilled in their boys a love of learning and an understanding that achieving an education is the means of closing the opportunity gap in the United States. The Sosas saw education as a pathway to a better life and future. Both brothers attribute their parents as their first and most influential supporters.

While at Phoenix College (PC), the Sosa brothers became “Dreamers,” undocumented residents who can legally work in the U.S. while pursuing a college education.  In the beginning of their college journey, they could only take one or two classes at a time. Gilberto was only able to save up enough money in the first year to take one class at Phoenix College. Fortunately, with the help of scholarships, the twins became successful at Phoenix College, taking more classes, engaging in student groups and excelling at their studies.

A Community of Support

When asked what the number one contributing factor to their success was at PC and ASU, both brothers unanimously voiced their appreciation for mentors. To Gilberto, mentors are any people willing and able to help. They could be an advisor or counselor giving him extra time. They are “his angels.” To Homero, indirect mentors came into his life at times when he was not sure of himself  - “When I did not believe I could do it, these indirect mentors encouraged me to succeed and go for it. It has instilled in me a deeper sense of gratitude.”

Why do people choose to mentor? Most will say that they reach backward to help others up to the next step because they were once assisted in a similar manner. Mentors want to pay it forward. Donors to student scholarships have stories of how they came to college on scholarship and it changed their lives so they, too, wish to pay it forward. Gilberto and Homero Sosa, having been the recipients of numerous scholarships and mentors’ time, are already beginning to pay it forward in their local communities through volunteerism.

Paying it Forward

In the future, both brothers talk about how they hope to give back. Experiencing an outpouring of support from their communities and mentors, the brothers feel a strong sense of gratitude for the mentors and generous donors who built a solid structural support for their educational and career aspirations.

Gilberto has two lofty goals for the next chapter of his life. He would prefer to use his acquired skills and education in supply chain to solve the issue of food distribution in the world by eliminating waste and optimizing food distribution to food deserts (i.e. an urban area where access to good quality food is difficult). If he achieves another dream of completing his Ph.D. in Operations Research, Gilberto also is passionate about making sure everyone has access to information (e.g. providing computers to impoverished areas).

Homero’s dream is to be a leader in the field of biomedical engineering and assist U.S. veterans with regaining mobility from loss of limbs or other medical impairments and open a school in third world countries.

A Circle Complete

Completing the cycle of generosity, the brothers both have future plans to support their colleges through mentorship and scholarship creation.

So many times, we look at someone’s fortunes from the outside and fail to see all the factors that led to that person’s success. No one is successful in a vacuum. It takes the help of family, friends, career mentors, and donors to launch a brilliant star.

If you are interested in helping a student achieve his or her dreams through scholarship or mentoring, contact us by e-mail at alumni@phoenixcollege.edu or give a secure gift at https://www.phoenixcollege.edu/alumni/give-back

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