Miguel Cruz

EnCorps launched its STEM Military Pathway in 2013; to date, EnCorps has signed over 70 military veterans with STEM expertise. The EnCorps military pathway empowers veterans like Miguel Cruz, as well as active duty and reservists, to transition into second careers as teachers. In Miguel’s words, “EnCorps recognizes our military backgrounds and sees the potential of the discipline and integrity and everything that makes up a service member. Mission comes first, here is your mission: Your mission is to teach these kids.”

“Mission comes first, here is your mission: Your mission is to teach these kids.”

To celebrate the US Army’s 242nd birthday, EnCorps spoke with Miguel Cruz, a Los Angeles EnCorps STEM Teaching Fellow who also served admirably in the army.

Miguel began his experience with EnCorps as a guest teacher at the STEM Academy of Hollywood, where he observed, shadowed and taught in a math classroom this spring. However, his service to his country began many years ago when he enlisted in the US Army and became a distinguished honor graduate with his aircraft mechanic’s class. He reflects on fond memories of the camaraderie and friendship he built. With his experience working on aircraft, Miguel knows he’ll use his real-world skills to increase understanding of weight and balance in his classroom.

In the fall, he will teach aerospace engineering at Canoga Park High School, where he will build a program with the $1 million grant they received. He has big aspirations for his students, saying “My hope is to become a gateway for these students to see the possible career paths they can take.”

The EnCorps military pathway empowers veterans like Miguel, active duty and reservists to transition into second careers as teachers by providing high-touch professional development, mentoring and support, and a clear pathway to the classroom. In Miguel’s words, “EnCorps recognizes our military backgrounds and sees the potential of the discipline and integrity and everything that makes up a service member. Mission comes first, here is your mission: Your mission is to teach these kids.”

We ended our conversation discussing role models, which Miguel thinks is an integral part of inspiring young minds. His brother, who passed away two years ago, served as his own role model. He paved the way for Miguel by going into aviation in the army. Miguel says, “He taught me and my younger brother if something doesn’t go one way, try a different path. That has always stayed with me. You don’t stop because you hit a wall, you find a way around it.” Miguel hopes to instill this type of perseverance and drive into the young minds he will mold as a high school teacher.