“Spare Parts” participant Oscar Vazquez to speak at WSU Vancouver

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 1:03pm -- brenda_alling

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Oscar Vazquez, whose life is portrayed in the Common Reading Program book “Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream,” by Joshua Davis, will speak at WSU Vancouver on Feb. 22. “An Afternoon with Oscar Vazquez” runs from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Dengerink Administration Building, Room 110. It is free and open to the public.

“Spare Parts” is a true story about four Mexican-American high school students—Vazquez is one of them—living in Phoenix, Ariz., who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds while learning about building robots and surviving in the United States. In a prestigious competition, Vazquez’s robotics team upset a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their lives are also the subject of a documentary, “Underwater Dreams,” which will be shown at WSU Vancouver in April.

Vazquez will share his story of fitting in during high school as an undocumented student, returning to Mexico in order to enter the country legally and serving in the U.S. Army, including two tours in Afghanistan. He earned an engineering degree at Arizona State University and in 2016 was invited by President Obama to attend the State of the Union address as a guest of the White House. A prominent advocate for immigration reform, he has testified before Congress on immigration issues.

“An Afternoon with Oscar Vazquez” is one of several Common Reading Program events being held during the school year. “Spare Parts” is used throughout academic disciplines in different ways, and first-year WSU Vancouver students received the book free. For more information about the program, contact Suzanne Smith, smithsu@wsu.edu.

About WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. in Vancouver, east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205, or via C-Tran bus service. Parking is available at meters or in the Blue Daily Pay Lot for $3; $1.50 after 5 p.m.

As one of six campuses of the Washington State University system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations. 

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Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601, brenda_alling@wsu.edu

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