Skip to main content

David Estrada

Get a

Seeking support to achieve your career goals.

David Estrada is a first-generation student who knew he wanted to be Husker from the moment he joined the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA).
– David Estrada –

I discovered Nebraska through the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA). I started the NCPA program in eighth grade, and my focus was to eventually attend Nebraska. I knew this was the place that I would find the most financial, academic and personal support from all of the faculty and staff. NCPA really was a lifesaver—from applying to Nebraska and learning about financial aid to moving in, choosing classes and even building my resume. NCPA has always been there to help me thrive.

I joined NCPA to break out of my shell. Before, I was a very shy, introverted person. It helped me reach out and talk to new people. As an NCPA college student, I’m now a peer leader. I mentor first-year scholars who are also in the program and help them get acclimated to college life and answer any questions they may have. I want them to know that I’ve been there, and I know how it feels—especially as a first-generation student who didn’t know much about college.

In his computer science courses, David engaged in hands-on projects that helped him gain career experience.

I enjoyed programming in high school, so I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career path. I’m currently working on my computer science senior design capstone project. My group is building a database and a web app for the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory, which is a research- oriented facility affiliated with the School of Natural Resources at Nebraska. The laboratory has a cowherd operation and develops plant and animal production systems to help local ranchers better raise their cattle. The goal of our project is to create more efficient ways for them to easily retrieve their data.

My capstone project introduced me to a lot of new technology and has provided a real-world experience that I'll apply in the future. I’m learning about the different aspects involved in developing—Does the program have everything that the sponsor wants? Is it working the way they want it to work?

David has developed essential skills to help him succeed in his career after graduation.
David posing with classmates

Going to Career Fair helped me get a full-time job as a Software Engineer for PenLink. In my role, I’ll be gathering the data they receive and formatting it to be stored in their database for eventual retrieval. It will be similar work to what I’m doing in my senior capstone project.

I’m excited to bring my ideas and skills to the table at my new job. One of the most important skills I’ve gained is problem-solving. I know how to identify what’s working, what’s not working, why it’s not working and how I can fix it. I’ve had a lot of experience with teamwork in my senior design group—there’s a lot of delegating responsibilities and tasks to make sure our ideas and solutions come together to create the main product. I’ve learned how to take lead and effectively step forward to offer my input.

“One of the biggest things I had to learn was that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help when you need it.”

— David Estrada

As he reflects on his college experience, David says he was able to grow at Nebraska because he learned how to ask questions.

One of the biggest things I had to learn was that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Sometimes you’re not going to know everything. There’s no shame in it. If you’re not reaching out, the only person that you’re really hurting is yourself. College has allowed me to explore my interests, progress in my field and create new connections and lasting friendships.