By Krista Joy Coleman

The sky is the limit for Anthony Saucedo, a business major and communications minor from Waukegan, Ill. “I grew up acting like a businessman,” he said. “I was always looking for new gadgets or accessories or games that were the next big thing.”

Saucedo kept a close eye on technology trends throughout his childhood, always fascinated by the changes and advancements in technology. He felt managing money carefully was crucial as he tried new, more efficient technologies. “If I wanted to try something new, I had to take care of what I owned and sell the old tech to buy the new tech,” he said. Learning early in life how to manage his resources, Saucedo’s interest in business began to grow.

The junior started his own side business fixing iPhone screens, replacing batteries, and making other technology repairs as he got older. It wasn’t long before he had a knack for fixing phones and negotiating better prices for his repair materials. “After talking to my first supplier, he gave me a good deal on the phone screens because I was able to buy a lot of product.”

Saucedo applied to 13 different colleges in high school. Though he received multiple acceptance letters and scholarship offers, he was thrilled he was accepted into his top choice, receiving the First Generation Initiative (FGI) scholarship to Saint Mary’s University. “Octavia Brown (FGI adviser) called me personally to offer the scholarship and ask if I was interested. I knew immediately I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity and accepted on the spot.”

He was stunned and excited that a private college from a different state gave him a full scholarship. Even though he completed the Countdown to College summer program at Saint Mary’s, having the FGI program choose him to be a First Generation Scholar surprised him. It felt like a recognition of his hard work and a helpful push for his future. Saucedo said he knew he had to make his time at college count. “I was so motivated to think about the future and take my future more seriously.”

Saucedo calls his professors “service driven” — always helping students get the resources they need to excel at what they are doing. “They focus so much on providing resources to help me advance and have success as a student,” he said.

“At a small school, the people are so important,” he added. His love for the Saint Mary’s community runs deep, from all his friends in athletics and on campus, to his professors and the FGI staff. “The people make it better. This community makes me feel comfortable here.”

He particularly calls out Brown for having a significant impact on his college experience. “I meet with her often,” he said. “We talk about my progress and how to end the semester strong.” According to Saucedo, Brown takes the time to make sure her students feel equipped for school and life by checking in, making sure they have everything they need, and ensuring they have an opportunity to talk if needed.

Saucedo sees himself diving into corporate internships to learn, build a strong network, and see how the business world runs. The small business sector equally interests him, as he could see himself owning his own small business in product development, repair, or half a dozen other ideas he has. As he comes closer to finishing his degree, there are multiple options for this junior. It’s only a matter of choosing what direction he wants to go.

“I would like to thank (the benefactors of the FGI program) for providing the opportunity to have a successful future and thrive and for giving me the motivation to want to build a better future for myself,” said Saucedo. “One day, I might make a big impact in the business world, and they would have started that for me … Thank you for changing my life.”

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