EPIC Spotlight: David Medina

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“I get to meet a lot of people I otherwise wouldn’t get to meet.”

The months following high school graduation, David I. Medina studied the dialogue from an American TV show about plane crash survivors on a deserted island.

Living in Monterrey, Mexico, he was taking an English class where viewing the TV series “Lost” was part of the curriculum. He says the show’s plot was captivating and provided a good incentive to mastering the English language. “I wanted to learn what they were saying,” he says.

David had big plans in the works.

His brother and sister had moved to the United States and told him good things about the country. David’s brother, in particular, went to college and landed a job at Walmart in Bentonville. David decided he wanted to live in Bentonville, too.

Moving to Northwest Arkansas was a bit of a culture shock, he says. His transition was eased when he discovered there was less traffic than Monterrey, and he was excited to experience his first snowfall.

“And then I started enjoying the people,” he says. “They’re very nice.”

Shortly after moving to Bentonville, David enrolled at NorthWest Arkansas Community College where he took his core courses and had a job working on the school’s computers. Since transferring to the University of Arkansas in 2010, David has been a familiar face at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, especially to the faculty, staff and Ph.D. students. As a computer technician with the college’s Technology Center, he helps keep their computers running smoothly.

“I like it,” he says. “I get to meet a lot of people I otherwise wouldn’t get to meet.”

That will change at the end of the semester. David will graduate with a computer science degree and work at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville as a programmer analyst. There, he will help create computer applications for Walmart vendors to use.

The job came after two summer internships with the world’s largest retailer, David says, adding that working at Walton College helped him understand the retail culture better. He even utilized the college’s Career Center to help him fine-tune his resume.

David says his love for videogames played a role in his majoring in computer science. As a class project, he designed a videogame based on Super Mario Bros. called Arkansas Rumble, where a little hog maneuvers through paths as it bashes away mascots from rival universities. He has also created a website where social media users can create memes in Spanish and is working on a videogame where zombies attack the University of Arkansas.

Yet, David says he may further his education at some point by enrolling in Walton College’s Executive MBA program. There, students can earn a master’s degree in two years by attending class one Saturday a month and doing the rest through distance learning.

Now settled, David says he has adapted to Arkansas culture, including attending Razorback football games, even though his heart is with soccer.

“Half of the time, I didn’t know what’s going on, but I still like it,” he says. He says he also plays bass guitar for his church band, but, he concedes, playing the guitar isn’t his No. 1 passion. “My passion is computers,” he says.