James Losole '18: Rising to the Challenge

By:
Tim Vanderpool, Nicholas Endo photo
James Losole

• Wildcat Excellence Tuition Award
• B.S. Computer Science

In college, one great teacher can be a game-changer. That’s what James Losole learned as he built academic confidence. 

“When I got to the University of Arizona to study computer science, I always thought I was the worst student in every class I walked into,” he says. “My GPA didn’t reflect that, because I worked as hard as I could. But I never thought I could handle a project on my own.”

Then he found himself studying under William Mitchell, a popular adjunct lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. 

Mitchell assigned a daunting project in a programming language Losole had learned barely two weeks before. Losole floundered at first — but then everything started to click. 

It was a breakthrough moment. “It gave me so much confidence in myself,” Losole says. “He was the first professor to do that for me in computer science, and it meant the world to me.”

That’s the way it’s supposed to work, says Mitchell. “I like to think my job is to shock-and-awe students with difficult projects. But every time I challenged James, he rose to the challenge.”

And it wasn’t the only pivotal moment for Losole, who’s now an enterprise systems engineer with Cisco Systems in Las Vegas. Another came when he earned a Wildcat Excellence Tuition Award. 

“That told me my school valued me,” he says. “It inspired me and added a layer of excitement and commitment.”