Meet Our Students

Cristian Barrero holds the value of an education in the highest regard – a quality instilled in him by his mother and her experience in pursuit of a better life for her family. His thirst for knowledge is so insatiable, made evident by his educational pursuits, which have led to his success in the computer design industry.

When Barrero was 17 years old, his mother moved him and his siblings from Colombia, South America to the United States for its abundant educational and career opportunities. He adjusted quickly to America’s hectic culture and learned just as quickly the secrets to being successful here. Barrero worked a full-time job (sometimes two), helped out with his younger siblings at home in Franklin Park and took English as a Second Language and credit hour courses at Triton College.

“Learning English was my number one goal when I came here,” Barrero said. “Working most of the time, I needed to know some English to speak to customers, and eventually move up in my field.”

Barrero received his associate’s degree in computer design from Triton, and then completed his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology and Management at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. At age 28, he’s currently pursuing his master’s degree at IIT, with the goal of starting his own product design company. “In this country, I’ve learned that you have options and achieving success is an option for me here,” he said.

Having the scheduling flexibility to continually work full-time jobs while attending school afforded Barrero the ability to pay his tuition without loan assistance. Barrero continues to seek out even more challenging opportunities as he strives to learn all he can to become one of the most knowledgeable persons in his field and beyond.

“You can never stop learning things,” he said. “My goal is to keep going to school, keep taking classes, keep learning – even if it’s not in the engineering world. It’s very rewarding to go to school and learn something new every day. There’s always something new to learn.”