Larry Phiravanh’s parents, who emigrated here from Laos, made sure all their children went to college and followed their dreams. Phiravanh is one of five siblings in his family and the first to deviate from the path the others have taken to the University of Minnesota. He is a junior at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) working toward a degree in web design and multimedia. He hopes to go into the virtual reality field — a growing industry in web design.

Phiravanh chose MCAD because it blended computer science with creativity, allowing him to follow his passion for web design. “I want to have a say in my creative license,” Phiravanh said. “I would love to work in a field that allows me to show my creative side to the tech world.”

Phiravanh speaks fondly of his educational opportunities. “I like how MCAD allows you to experiment in various areas you’re interested in,” Phiravanh said. “They give you a push, and then help you dive into the thing you want to do the most.”

He also credits much of his academic success to the help of his advisor and professor, Ben Moren. “My advisor really helped me blossom,” Phiravanh said. “He is a digital content creator when he’s not in the classroom, and seeing him do what I want to do someday is inspiring and motivating.”

In addition to a busy class schedule, Phiravanh works for Delta Airlines on the weekends and squeezes in homework during his breaks. He also does freelance work to gain experience and make a little extra money. Keeping his student debt load down is important. A recipient of the UPS Foundation Scholarship, Phiravanh is thankful for the grant and the education he is earning.