Alvaro Briones

Alvaro Briones Considers Himself a Disciple

Mechanical Engineering | School of Computing and Engineering
Graduation Year: 2017

Briones grew up in Lima, Peru, until he was 10 when he and his family moved to Lee’s Summit. His father, who had been a university professor in Peru, became a plant worker; he is now plant manager. His mother was a secretary.

Why did you choose UMKC?

When I was 18, my parents said, ‘Go out on your own.’ I had a certain amount of money in my bank account, so I biked to Kansas City from Lee’s Summit. UMKC seemed to have good value for the money. The professors had great reviews and, at the same time, Kansas City’s the fourth largest engineering hub.

Do you pay for college yourself?

Yes. I started working at Burger King when I was 15. I was manager at Sonic at 17. I work 30 hours a week at Fogo de Chao. I’ve been assimilated to the culture where I see parents pay for everything (for my peers). It made me feel a little bit bitter at first, but at the same time, I was thankful. The work ethic I’ve developed will differentiate me.

How has college inspired you?

College has inspired me to do more than to just go to class and pass. UMKC has inspired me to be more diverse. I have friends from every corner of the world and it’s awesome because I feel driven to get to know all different types of people and cultures.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I’m a fool. College has a way of showing you how much there is still left to learn and how you can’t ever stop growing. I’m constantly learning more about life and myself.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

It’s an academically-forward school. UMKC is geared towards students who want to expand their knowledge. They provide plenty of help with the Math Science Tutoring Center, TAs, supplemental instruction and much more.

Are you a first generation college student?

I am, it means that I’m going to bring my family forward with the degree and profession I chose. It also means that I am setting the bar for cousins, family members and people who know me to provoke their interest in college and help them understand that it is always a possibility.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully in a home with my own family.

What is one word that best describes you?

Disciple. It’s either that or Meathead (laughing). When you think of a disciple, it means learning. I don’t think that there will ever be a day I stop learning. Hopefully I will keep learning in my job, keep learning in my faith (he attends Midtown Baptist Temple at 40th and Walnut).

What excites you?

Anything. Everything. Making people happy. When I do something right, it excites me. It excites me to help people. I like to be a leader.

What organizations are you a part of at UMKC?

I’m president of the Human-Powered Vehicle Team. We designed a vehicle that team will raced in San Jose. I’m treasurer of the engineering school student council. I’m helping form the weight lifting club; it’s motto: Achieve Failure. I have been a freshman orientation leader and an ambassador.

What motto do you live by?

Be a tree. Stay true to your roots. Go out on a limb. Stand tall.

What are your lifelong goals?

There are too many. I don’t know where life is going to take me. I want to have a good family that I can provide a good life for. If I have kids, they’re going to work. But I will provide a car, so they can get where they need to go. And I will provide college – as long as they keep their grades up. I also want to be strong in my faith. It’s not what you do, it’s what you leave behind.