In a remarkable journey spanning just over a decade, Arnold Morales has risen from humble beginnings as a low-income warehouse worker with a GED to becoming a first-line manager at Boeing. This leading global aerospace company manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products, and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries.
Morales’ hard work, determination, and unwavering belief in the power of education and mentorship led him to be awarded the prestigious HENEEC Pioneer Award from Great Minds in STEM.
The Pioneer Award is a testament to individuals like Morales, who have shattered traditional societal, economic, and professional barriers within the STEM field. Morales is paving the way for others through his accomplishments, opening doors, and charting new courses for aspiring engineers and scientists.
Born in Miami, FL, and raised in Honduras, Arnold returned to the United States as a teenager, facing the challenge of only having a GED and a minimum-wage job. Undeterred, he embarked on a higher education journey that began at Ivy Tech Community College-Indianapolis. Morales earned an associate of science in pre-engineering from Ivy Tech. He graduated magna cum laude in 2015 and was the commencement speaker. While at Ivy Tech Indianapolis, he founded the Ivy Tech Engineering Society and became an honorary National Society of Leadership and Success member.
“Thank you for changing my life, Ivy Tech. Thank you for the amazing education at an affordable price,” Morales said in an Instagram post. “I am Ivy Tech.”
Morales secured scholarships to continue his higher education journey at Indiana University - Indianapolis (formerly known as Indiana University -Purdue University Indianapolis), where he graduated with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He seized every possible internship and earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.
In 2018, Arnold joined Boeing and rapidly excelled in multiple commercial airplane programs, ultimately earning the Safety Award in 2021 for his exceptional contributions to the 777X program. Today, he holds a management position on the KC-46 aerial refueling aircraft program at Boeing, where he actively teaches, mentors, and recruits future talent.
Arnold's commitment to sharing his formula for success has led him to post inspirational content across social media, reaching over 12 million views and garnering over 21,000 followers. His podcast, "Nontraditional College Success," has achieved millions of downloads and views. Additionally, Arnold established a nonprofit organization rooted in his social media success, providing valuable content to help underserved students achieve their dream STEM careers, mirroring his inspirational journey.
“Arnold Morales is proof there’s more than one route to a STEM career,” John J. Tracy, a retired chief technology officer at Boeing, said when he presented the award to Morales.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.