Nicolas Guido graduated from Azusa Pacific in 2019, which means the post-grad world he was entering was one of pandemic, unpredictability, and of course, unprecedented times. Despite that rocky launch, Guido has certainly found his feet and his calling. Today he is a software engineer at Office Otter Inc., a small start-up company co-founded by two other APU alums, Jordan Boudreau and Shayanne Wright. “APU has definitely impacted my current community,” said Guido. “I’m still in touch with many of my friends that I made through Res Life, Ride for Water, High Sierra, and the Physics program.
Physics was Guido’s major while at APU, but he also minored in mathematics and computer science. His time in the Physics program was filled with deep fulfillment and exploration. In 2019 he was published in an issue of Progress in Electromagnetics Research (PIER), he won the “Outstanding Senior Award” in the Physics department, and he helped develop a new signal processing algorithm for F-19’s radar system while working at Raytheon. “I loved my Physics classes from the first day of PSE1 with Peanut,” said Guido. “I have always enjoyed problem solving and critical thinking, particularly in the context of understanding the observable universe so, in a way, physics was the perfect subject for me.” Despite feeling like his major was the perfect fit, Guido noted that he felt he’d really found his calling not during undergrad, but after:
“I spent quite some time after graduation unsure of how I would best fit into the STEM world beyond university,” he said. “I felt I had found my calling when I learned more about the start-up culture. It’s fast-paced, risky, and full of problems to solve. I definitely use my STEM skills as a software engineer but I also appreciate that my job is multifaceted. I get to work with customers, investors, and help design the UI. The ultimate task is to synthesize people skills, creativity, and software development to achieve company growth, and I feel I’ve found my career calling in this space.”
APU has certainly played a major founding role in Guido’s current life. Not only is it where he went to learn the ins and outs of physics, mathematics, and computer science, it’s also the place he learned the ins and outs of community and personal growth: “I believe that my whole experience at APU (academic, extra-curricular, and social) have all contributed to setting me up for success at a small start-up company,” Guido said. And, though the APU campus itself was so impactful for Guido, it was also the opportunities APU provided that helped mold him into the man he is today. “My most meaningful experience at APU,” recalled Guido, “was my semester studying away. There, I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and take on new worldviews and ideas. That semester was full of personal and communal growth that has left a life changing impact on me.” In addition to this, Guido also took part in “Ride for Water” in the summer of 2019. “As a team of 9,” Guido said, “we set out to ride our bikes from San Francisco to New York to raise money and awareness for the clean water crisis happening around the world.” These experiences, in addition to the faith-infused courses taught at APU, really prepared Guido for the outside world. “I [feel] they equipped me to engage in difficult conversations outside of the APU community,” he said, which has served him both in his personal and professional life.
Out of all the great advice, experiences, and community Guido received while at APU, what stands out are his post-grad experiences and how undergrad influenced them. Namely, Guido offers to pieces of advice to current and future students:
“Take advantage of every opportunity APU has to offer. Being a full time student is already a lot, but it’s absolutely worth the extra effort to get involved and be a part of the many communities on campus. Your four years will be over before you know it.” “There is a stigma that once you graduate with a certain degree, any future job you pick must be directly relevant to that degree. It’s okay to break away from that stigma. I spent about a year doing outdoor adventure guiding in Tahoe, and while that time was filled with fun and excitement, it also helped me to grow emotionally and spiritually, which led to me finding a new career path.
In short, Guido tasks us to be open because the opportunities, like problems to solve, are endless.