Padilla — a member of the first cohort of New Haven Promise Scholars in 2011 — has crossed every barrier since arriving to the U.S. as an undocumented seven-year-old from Ecuador. At the end of this school year, he will earn his civil engineering degree from the University of New Haven and begin full-time work with The Walsh Group, analyzing costs in the construction of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven.
In addition to that, Padilla has been a high-profile Scholar, speaking out on issues related to undocumented students while also providing inspiring speeches at events hosted by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and New Haven Promise. He was also the commencement speaker at his elementary school, the Columbus Family Academy.
After graduating from Wilbur Cross High, Padilla and classmate James Doss-Gollin (a Promise Scholar at Yale) founded New Haven REACH, designed to aid City youth — mostly first-generation students — in preparation and transition from high school-to-college.