Hometown: Hawthorne, CA
high school: Hawthorne Math and Science Academy
college: Washington University in St. Louis
MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering
Christian Alexander was born on September 21, 2001, to two parents, both of whom loved him very much but were mentally unfit to raise him. By age two, Christian’s grandmother was awarded legal custody of him by the courts. She provided stability and guidance at that crucial time of his development.
Soon after entering high school, however, that stability was upended when Christian and his grandmother were evicted from their family home of over 40 years. In spite of the resulting turmoil – from living in a car and a dodgy motel to sleeping in a house with hospital gurneys for beds and sharing another with multiple families – Christian made the choice to focus on the elements of his life that were in his control. He rededicated himself to his academics and extracurricular involvement, demonstrating leadership and resilience in and out of the classroom.
Achieving success despite hardship has taught Christian the value of a strong work ethic and in making adjustments instead of excuses. His motivation comes from a desire to do whatever it takes to never be forced as an adult to return to the conditions brought on by poverty and housing insecurity that defined his childhood. He is dedicated to helping others along the way in the same way that he has been helped. Christian has found great joy in mentoring 9th graders at his high school through Link Crew, making sure they understand that seeking tutoring and support is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Christian continues to seek ways to better his community, recently using his participation in the Bezos Scholars Program to create Great Neighbors, a student-run volunteer organization dedicated to supporting and connecting senior citizens in Hawthorne, CA. Taking his experience as his grandmother’s caretaker, Christian’s goal is to help as many senior citizens as he can feel loved and remembered and provide them with information and resources that make their lives easier and more enriching.
Christian also continues to be involved in his school’s MESA club by participating in the National Engineering Design Competition, collaborating with three peers to create a wireless, app-controlled robotic arm for elderly and physically disabled people. This arm also comes along with a car that is also controlled wirelessly, through Arduino, so that those with disabilities who use this technology can move the arm without having it be physically moved for them. Envisioning how this technology can benefit others as well as the future projects Christian will be able to work on given his combination of interests and inspirations keeps Christian hungry to learn more and make a bigger impact on the lives of underserved, often forgotten people.