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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Student Spotlight: Jacob Lam, Networking and Cybersecurity

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  EASTERN celebrated by interviewing students of Asian heritage who are leaders in their programs. Today, we spotlight Jacob Lam, a first-year student in EASTERN’s Networking and Cybersecurity program and a junior at Cheltenham High School.  At EASTERN’s Awards Night on May 22, Jacob received the Networking and Cybersecurity Outstanding Junior Award and Straight A Award.

Jacob’s family comes from Vietnam. When Jacob's father was young, the Vietnam War created turmoil and danger. At the age of 20, seeking a better future and a safer environment, he and his family made the bold decision to move to the United States. Upon arriving, Jacob's father enrolled in school. His talent for math quickly became evident, but he faced significant challenges with English and history. Despite these struggles, he was determined to succeed. Luckily, his older brother, who had been living in the United States for several years, became a crucial support system. He helped Jacob's father improve his English skills and assisted him in finding a job, paving the way for a brighter future for their family.

When Jacob reflects on the sacrifices and struggles his father and his family endured to create a better life, he feels an overwhelming sense of pride. "I work my hardest now to make my dad proud," Jacob added, with a determination that mirrors his father's unwavering resilience. “I celebrate and am proud of my heritage all year long.”

At Cheltenham High School, Jacob took all of the computer classes offered and enjoyed them.  When he heard about the Networking and Cybersecurity program at EASTERN, he was excited about the prospect of earning college credits and getting to do what he likes to do for half of his school day. He is preparing for industry-standard certifications that will help him get a good job in the future.

Jacob's favorite aspects of the program are working with high-end equipment and the camaraderie with his classmates. "In our class, we spend two hours and 45 minutes together, and we've formed a strong bond," said Jacob. "I enjoy being able to bounce ideas off of my peers and having a reliable support system when I encounter challenges. The collaborative environment makes the learning experience rewarding."

Outside of the classroom, Jacob takes his physical fitness seriously and spends a great deal of time at the gym weight training. After graduating from Cheltenham High School and EASTERN, Jacob is considering an ROTC program at Rochester University or Virginia Tech where he will continue his education in Computer Science.