After Filmon Fesshatsion came to the United States at age 18, college was not something he imagined for himself.

But he met a volunteer with a local nonprofit that had helped his family immigrate from Uganda to St. Paul. The volunteer, who owns a computer consulting business, quickly became Fesshatsion’s mentor. After hearing Fesshatsion’s intentions to not attend college, his mentor set up a visit to Gustavus Adolphus College.

“I was not sure college was for me,” he said. “I had a job but was unsure I could afford higher education. After touring the community of Gustavus, I knew it was where I should be.”

Now a second-year student majoring in computer science at Gustavus, Fesshatsion is a busy student involved in Student Senate, Diversity Leadership Council and is also a member of the Minnesota Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

He serves as a mentor for youth in the St. Peter community through Big Partner, Little Partner at Gustavus. “Having grown up in a single mother household, I know just how valuable my mentor was to me with life, career and education advice,” he said. “I am so grateful to give that experience to others and be a part of a change in the community.”

In reflecting upon how the Xcel Energy scholarship has impacted his education, Fesshatsion said he “cannot find a word to describe the importance of this scholarship, it was a lifesaver. This scholarship is really important to my family and me.”

Now looking beyond college, Fesshatsion wishes to work for those who have helped him get through college, “I plan to live in the Twin Cities close to my family and ideally work for Xcel Energy, because they have given me so much,” he said.