March 17, 2020, Lutz, Florida – Brandon Avery Collins, a 2019 APRO Education Scholarship recipient, has his sights set on the stars. An undergraduate majoring in electrical engineering at the University of South Florida (USF), Brandon has been enamored with construction and deconstruction since he was very young. As he progressed through high school, he developed a deep interest in and compassion for space and the wonders it holds. When Brandon’s two interests meshed, he was propelled headlong into his current academic and career trajectory.
With a second year of financial support from an APRO Education Foundation Scholarship, Brandon is well on the way to his dream career in avionics – the science of electronics used in designing and making aircraft – and he maintains an unwavering interest in working with the leading companies in the nation, such as NASA, Space X and Lockheed Martin.
“Avionics is exactly what I am meant to do,” says Brandon. “Being hired as a professional in this field will be a longtime dream come true.”
Brandon is the son of Reba Collins-Tuccio, an employee of Aarons, Inc., in Auburndale, Florida, which sponsored his successful scholarship application. As a high-performing EE major at USF, Brandon is among many students who face a “Catch-22” circumstance, with family income too high to qualify for many scholarships, but too low to fully support his college expenses. In 2018 and 2019 APRO Educational Scholarships helped Brandon weather very significant financial pressures and continue to move toward graduation and a career in outer space.
Brandon carries a 4.25 GPA at USF. During his final year of high school and freshman year at USF, the enterprising future avionics professional logged more than 400 hours of community service in addition to a heavy course load. His volunteer projects include setting up classroom technology in a local elementary school, volunteering for breast cancer fundraisers, and tutoring band students at the local middle school. With more than eight years of experience in band himself and current participation in three separate campus bands, Brandon is an enthusiastic promoter of extracurricular involvement as a means of motivating and sustaining his quest for a career in space engineering.
“I’ve learned that high-impact experiences like these are important for social growth and stimulation,” he says. “Band has been and remains one of the major influences on my academic success. My involvement with our marching band, pep band and an audition-based ensemble that performs at local community events is a highlight of my collegiate experience.”