Couple plans to give back

Couple plans to give back

Former scholarship recipients thankful for the support and want to pay it forward

Claudia Cupasachoa (Occupational Health and Safety ’16) and Juan Montoya (Petroleum Engineering Technology ’16), originally from Colombia, immigrated to Canada nearly a decade ago. In that time they learned English, became Canadian citizens and graduated from NAIT.

Months after graduation, however, the married couple faced another kind of challenge. It was the middle of Alberta’s economic downturn and jobs in their fields were scarce. But their determination to find work their respective professions paid off.

Today, Cupasachoa and Montoya are both employed in the fields they love. Cupasachoa is a project technologist for one of Canada’s largest environmental, engineering, health and safety consulting firms. And Montoya is a field operator at Canadian Natural Resources Limited, where he says he’s putting his NAIT education into practice every day.

The couple has settled comfortably into their lives in Edmonton and put down roots. They’ve purchased a house and welcomed their first baby in 2018.

Remembering the tough times they overcame, the couple adamantly agrees that one day – after they’ve paid off their student loans – they will help future students by establishing a scholarship or bursary.

“Scholarships gave us the opportunity to focus,” says Cupasachoa. “I believe it’s important so students are not stressed or forced to think about how to support themselves.”

Montoya agrees and, until he’s able to contribute, asks that donors keep helping students in need.

“It encouraged us to do well in school,” and that, he says, ultimately led to our success in finding great jobs and starting our family.

NAIT is proud to celebrate the success of Essential: The NAIT Campaign. Thanks to thousands of donors, we raised more than $100 million for student success, applied research and campus development. In appreciation, NAIT is sharing 100 reasons how donors are having an essential effect on our campus and the community.