Ernest Middleton loves electricity. At 14, Middleton says his life was not going in the right direction and his mother decided to send him to his uncle, an electrician. Together, the pair did wiring work and his uncle encouraged Middleton to pursue the trade further. Once in trade school in Charleston, Middleton found his passion and decided to pursue an engineering degree at the University of South Carolina. But a difficult course nearly ended his goal to become an engineer. It was a teacher, who encouraged him not to quit and to volunteer for Partners for Minorities in Engineering & Computer Science, a camp that seeks to attract women and minorities into engineering and computer science fields.
Thirty-two years later, Middleton now helps lead the program. He says he sees himself in the students there. “Try, try, try, otherwise you will never know how far you can reach,” says Milddleton. He encourages all students to reach for the stars, saying, “you can do anything, if you put your mind to it.”