Justin Palacios: Launching a Well-Rounded Life

By:
Katy Smith, Chris Richards photo
Justin Palacios

• Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Scholarship
• Class of 2020, Materials Science and Engineering

Justin Palacios came to the University of Arizona hoping to progress as a musician as he learned to become an engineer. What he didn’t anticipate was falling in love with fencing as a freshman.

“It’s a great physical and mental sport that allows you to be you. You can be expressive in how you fence,” says Palacios.

Now a senior, Palacios served as president of the Wildcat Fencing Club for two years and has competed at the national level. He also plays violin in the UA Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I’m still getting better, which I think is important.”

Palacios is grateful he’s had the time to pursue both interests in addition to his studies. He chose the UA because he felt a sense of belonging and because he was impressed with the faculty, who have lived up to his expectations.

“They don’t just regurgitate knowledge and hope we absorb it. You can tell a lot of the professors care about how they teach us information, and they’re invested in us succeeding,” he says.

Palacios is looking forward to beginning graduate-level courses in his senior year as the launchpad to an accelerated master’s degree in materials science and engineering. He sees his scholarship as a great motivator.

“It puts a little pressure on me, because people are essentially betting on me to become a successful engineer. Knowing they’re counting on me helps me do a good job.”