Navy veteran fulfills dream of attending USC

- Richie Flores, 25,  always dreamed of walking the USC campus as a student.

This fall semester that dream became a reality when he transferred in August as a sophomore.

“I grew up about an hour and a half from here and USC for me it was the highest you can go,” Flores said.

But reaching this height came with some sacrifices. Flores decided to put his college education on hold to serve his country first.

“I joined the navy where I served for four years. I was aboard two ships during my deployment,” he said.

In the U.S. Navy, Flores was part of the navigation department where he plotted and planned voyages at sea.  

“From there is where I got my love for math and science,” he said. “I got to apply it in real time, so I knew when I was getting out that I wanted to apply these skills in a more direct way. I knew engineering was the answer for me.”

Flores is now navigating his twelfth week at USC as an undergrad majoring in computer engineering. He’s one of 1,200 veterans attending the university, which has ranked on several lists as one of the best schools for vets.

Flores is also the first in his family to attend college. He’s taken advantage of some of the school’s resources for vets to help him afford the education.

“There’s plenty of resources out there for myself,” he said. “There’s grant, scholarships, financial aid and of course you have the help from the VA.”

And he has a message for veterans pursuing their dreams after their service.

“If you have your mind towards any pursuit just follow it and do not settle,” Flores said.

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