Ashwin Gopal Named CAA’s Third Place Scholarship Winner of $500

July 10, 2015 – By Coach Lindsey

Ashwin Gopal - Picture 071015

  Last month, College Admissions Assistance, LLC (CAA) announced the five winners of their eighth annual scholarship contest. Of those, Ashwin Gopal received their Third Place prize of $500 to help pay for his college expenses. I spoke with Ashwin over the phone to learn more about his plan to become a civil engineer by earning his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University.   Born in Dallas, TX, Ashwin and his family moved to Moline, IL in the early 2000’s because of a change in his father’s job. He was only a few years old at the time, so Moline is where Ashwin calls home. He said that he will miss the friends he has grown up with when he leaves for Iowa State in the fall. But, before the time comes for them to part ways, Ashwin will keep busy this summer by entering a Lego building contest and preparing for his first year in college.   “I built a city completely out of Legos, like skyscrapers and other buildings,” he told me. “I’ve been building with Legos for a really long time, but I haven’t ever entered a contest for it.”   This hobby is a testament to his ultimate career goal of becoming a civil engineer. Ashwin has always been interested in large city structures, like buildings and bridges, and knew that college was the right pathway for him to reach his goal to design his own. He told me that two of his biggest inspirations are Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, who are both well-known for their distinctive architectural designs.   “I like their views on architecture. [Wright and Gehry] are really unique, and it made me imagine myself as an individual with my own style of design,” he explained. “The more wacky the better!”   Ashwin’s passion for structural design is what helped him decide that civil engineering was the right career and major choice for him. He said that he would advise others planning for college to follow their dreams and to keep moving forward.   “I would tell [underclassmen] to explore what they like and choose a career they have a passion for,” he explained. “Go for your greater ability. I would also tell them to not slack off their senior year.”   In addition to architecture, Ashwin enjoys drawing and playing tennis. During his sophomore year, in 2013, he competed in the USTA Tennis Tournament and came in second place. He also played on his high school tennis team and is a member of the U.S. Tennis Association. He told me that he will likely participate in intramural tennis at Iowa State, but he is more interested in studying abroad while in college.   “[Iowa State] has a really good study abroad program,” he said. “But I don’t know where I want to go yet.”   Iowa State was Ashwin’s first-choice college. He told me that he is a little nervous about the large campus but is sure he will figure it all out. One aspect of college that Ashwin is most excited for is the new social experiences.   “Iowa State has a lot of extracurricular activities,” he said. “I will live on campus my first year, and I’ve already talked to my roommate online. He is an Indian like me from Des Moines, IA, and we both like sports.”   After four years of high school and months of planning for college, Ashwin said that if he could do it all over again, he would apply to more colleges and scholarships. He told me how thankful he was for the help he received from CAA and that he would recommend the program to others needing assistance with the process.   “CAA puts together a plan for what needs to happen in an appropriate time, which makes it much easier,” he explained. “I would like to thank the CAA Coaches for helping me to achieve my goal to attend Iowa State.”