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Caballero: Scholarships made my career possible

“Simply put, the scholarships allowed my career to happen,” said Carlos Caballero ’18, ’19. “They allowed me to be on campus and focus on my studies. That wouldn't have happened without the generosity of my scholarship donors.”

Caballero graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and received his second bachelor’s a year later in physics. He works for Optimus Steel as a process engineer.

Carlos Caballero
Carlos Caballero

While at LU, Caballero received numerous awards and was involved in the McNair Scholars Program. He became a global sensation when his “Walking on Water” video about the behavior of non-Newtonian fluid went viral, garnering more than 40 million views on Facebook. He presented the experiment at New Student Orientations and Cardinal Views, and he even appeared on the TV show Pickler and Ben in Nashville, Tenn.

Caballero received several scholarships, including the Alicia Christine Bonura Memorial Regents Scholarship in Engineering. Josh Bonura, Alicia's brother, says his parents Mike and JoAnne Bonura started the scholarship after Alicia passed.

“It really is just about giving back to LU and giving back in my sister's name. She wanted to be an engineer,” Bonura said.

Alicia was planning to study mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University in fall 2006 before she and a teammate tragically died in a bus accident on the way to a soccer playoff match.

“She would want to look back and know she is helping students reach their dream of becoming an engineer,” he said. Bonura, who works at ExxonMobil, said “the ExxonMobil matching program is a huge benefit, it helps supplement my contributions and maximize the benefit I can give to the students.”

Caballero met the Bonura family his first year at LU and from there built a mentorship with Mike Bonura. The Bonura family even attended his graduation ceremony and the graduation party at his home. They formed a unique bond and continue to stay in touch.

Josh Bonura has met several scholarship recipients. “One thing that really stood out is that the scholarships allowed the students to fully focus on going to school without the stress of working a job,” he said. Being involved at LU is important, and I really don't think many of them would have the ability to be involved in student organizations if they didn’t have the scholarships.”

Caballero credits his scholarships for his involvement in student organizations. He served as vice president of the Honors Student Association, homecoming coordinator for three years and a founding father of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. “Without the scholarships, I would not have been able to devote so much time to give back to the university.”

While reflecting on his experience as a recipient, Caballero said, “Their investment is put to good use. The donors invest not only in the students but also in the university and the community. It’s a way to pay it forward and give back.”