A dream made reality

Last Updated 20 March, 2015

Paulo Salvador, a 2014 graduate, had an incredible four years at NNU. He was one of five graduates of NNU’s first class of engineering majors; he researched on projects ranging from crop monitoring with drones to building a rehabilitation machine for a paraplegic girl; and this fall he is beginning the journey towards a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.

Opportunities and accomplishments like these didn’t come easy and certainly seemed impossible to Paulo at home in Brazil. "I dreamed of coming to NNU, but I never thought it would be possible due to finances. However, God showed His infinite mercy and opened all the doors for me to be here."

As an international student "the language barrier was a difficult challenge to overcome, and it almost made me quit my dream and return home. My first months at NNU were tough because I had a hard time understanding my professors in class or even my friends in the dorms. However, the NNU people were extremely patient with me, and soon that was no longer a problem."

The hard work and sacrifice paid off as Paulo experienced at NNU both the academically rigorous and spiritually focused education he desired. "NNU was a crucial factor in making me who I am. The NNU professors and staff were important role models in my academic and Christian journey. They helped shape my ideas and ideals and integrate my academic life into my Christian life."

Paulo’s senior engineering project also changed his outlook on combining academic pursuits with service to others. He, along with his teammates, designed a walking rehabilitation machine that will be an affordable and accessible therapy option for a girl who lost the use of her lower body in a car accident. The device is currently being tested by her physical therapists and shows promise for wider application. Paulo said, "This project taught me that my education and skills are not meant to be used in selfish ways, but that I can use them to make someone's life better."

As Paulo begins graduate school at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he is grateful for his preparation as a student and a person. “NNU did not only tell me how to be a better person, Christian, and professional, but took me by the hand and showed me by example how to do it.”