Capitol Tech Board Member Introduces New Scholarship Fund

André Mendes parents wedding
The parents of André Mendes, Fernando and Rosa Maria, at their wedding.

Capitol Technology University is pleased and honored to announce a new financial award for students, the Fernando and Rosa Maria Mendes Scholarship Fund. Capitol Tech’s Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, André Mendes, generously provided this $2,500 annual scholarship in his parents’ honor, primarily to support students with Lusophone heritage and who immigrated to the United States as he once did. 

To begin the scholarship fund, Mendes made the initial gift of $2,500, half of which will be distributed to the first awardee in the Fall 2022 semester, the other half in the Spring 2023 semester. The money will go to a current undergraduate or incoming student at Capitol who shows scholastic promise–earning at least a 3.0 grade point average in their most recent academic setting. 

Scholarship candidates who have heritage from a Lusophone country (Portugal, Angola, Brazil, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome, and Principe) or who speak Portuguese will receive priority consideration for the scholarship when eligible. Additionally, the fund is directed to support an individual who is an immigrant or is first-generation born in the United States, as this mirrors Mendes’ own experience. “I immigrated from Portugal by myself at age 17. I want to afford students that have Portuguese in their background a good opportunity to succeed,” he says.  

Parents of Board Member André Mendes
The parents of André Mendes, Rosa Maria and Fernando, pictured at the
height of their success

Mendes’ parents for whom the award is named, Fernando and Rosa Maria Mendes, were a major source of inspiration for the fund’s inception. They encouraged their son to chase his dreams and move to the U.S. at a young age and now he wishes to pay it forward. “I arrived here and [have] been  successful due to the enormous sacrifice my parents made in giving me the freedom to pursue my dreams even if it meant losing so much time with them throughout their lives,” he says. 

The students who receive this scholarship will embody resilience and strength, and be completely free from a “victim mentality,” hopes Mendes. He envisions the award going to the most deserving students with impeccable work ethics who aim to better themselves and expand their knowledge through STEM education. “As an immigrant, I had to work really hard at menial jobs in order to pay for my tuition at a Junior College. I wanted to provide deserving student applicants with a little bit of a head start on their journey. I had been wanting to do it for a few years but finally am at a stage where I can afford it,” he explains. 

In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees at Capitol, Mendes has an extensive IT and infrastructure support background, currently serving as the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He previously worked in numerous leadership roles for organizations including the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Special Olympics International, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He has served as the Vice Chairman of Capitol’s Board of Trustees since 2017, and in September 2022, will be promoted to Chairman of the Board when the current Chair, Haden Land, retires.