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Perseverance Rewarded

father and son

Bryan BustosCarmona poses for photo with his son

May 2017 | by Hannah Blaser '17

Bryan BustosCamona graduated May 13 with a Master of Speech-Language Pathology degree.

He's also the two-time Chilean national champion at Super Smash Brothers, but if you ask him about that, language fails.

Although Bryan travels the United States as a semi-professional video gamer and eSports commentator for ESPN, he's hesitant to brag about his own accomplishments.

But Bryan has much to be proud of.

A speech pathologist in Chile before he moved to the United States, he sought to revalidate his degree so he could continue his work in the United States. This goal led him to St. Ambrose.

"I picked St. Ambrose because it was different from other schools I got accepted to," Bryan explained. "It provided a better focus for this career in the bilingual area of the degree. I'd prefer to be here with a focus on bilingualism than be in a master's program with more of an English focus."

Moving to the Quad Cities was not without its challenges. Bryan was homeless for three months while he struggled to begin his new life.

"I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. It was really hard for me to keep track of my life," he said. "My son was 2 ½, and I struggled a lot with money. All my family is in Chile, so I had nobody here. It was really rough to be alone in a different country with different people in a different language. I didn't know that much English at the very beginning. I was afraid to go to the grocery store, because I didn't know the language."

He found the support he needed to succeed at St. Ambrose.

"The people at SAU provided me with a lot of resources and tools. The teachers themselves gave me a lot of opportunities. They let me go home for a few weeks in the middle of the program to see my family. They provided a lot of support and helped me keep track of my master's and my life," Bryan said.

The support Bryan has had extends further than the St. Ambrose community. The Quad Cities and its residents have welcomed Bryan with open arms, something he discovered through his love of eSports.

"eSports has been a great experience, and that part of my life allows me to do a lot of things and meet a lot of people. In fact, it's responsible for the place I'm living now," he said. "When I was homeless, I met Kristal and Chavras Trices. They play Smash Brothers, so after we met, they provided me with a room. Before that I was living on couches, but they bought me a bed and a lot of things, and that family has been great. They kept encouraging me to keep going no matter what happens."

Bryan is still in awe at the generosity of people like the Trices'. "I just met them at a tournament, but they were so nice that I'm still living with them," he said.

Bryan will begin a new job following commencement, working in the field of bilingual speech-language pathology for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Center. For all the challenges his move to the United States brought him, he believes he found his place at SAU.

"Now that I feel more in power of myself, I see how important Ambrose has been to me," he said. "It has provided me with the career I have now and so many doors are open now. With this degree, I'm able to achieve bigger things and demonstrate to my son that even his father, who lost everything at one point, is able to achieve big things and keep going, no matter what has happened."

MORE LIKE THIS:About SAU Students, AmbroseZine, Master of Speech-Language Pathology

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