Santiago Beltran Miranda is a young entrepreneur, philanthropist, IT and computer specialist who is most known for founding and leading Protser Technology Incorporated, an IT consulting firm, and the U-Tech Club, an organization that helps the youth improve their technological skills so that they could become productive members of their communities.
Through his work with U-Tech, Santiago has been able to reach more than eight thousand youths and provide them with access through the partnerships that he has made with various organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Saint Louis and Johnson City, as well as with the Covenant House, a shelter for out of school and at risk teens.
Having seen how powerful technology can positively affect the lives of numerous people, Santiago has made it his lifelong career to help his fellow youths learn as much as they can about technology. And this is what makes Santiago so amazing—even at such an age as his, he is already thinking of how to benefit the community. There are so few youths in the world today that have a heart for their communities, but one can be sure that Santiago is one of them.
As Santiago says in an interview:
“I enjoy immersing myself in IT to not just connect with those who I love but to setup each component that make the communication possible. Technology has continuously helped my family and me be able to share and connect with one another regardless of the location or the limitations. With technology, I’m able to follow and focus on my passion to continue pursuing even my wildest dreams to make telecommunications faster, more reliable, and open to all.”
Another amazing trait about Santiago is his value for family and hard work. This is seen in how much time and energy he spends in helping others, whilst always being reminded of how he would have never gotten to where he is today if not for his parents who made sacrifices for him. In an interview, Santiago honoured his parents by remembering them in this statement:
“The past years have shown me how a parent’s dedication and hard work pay off. Knowing their story of how they left everything behind in Colombia inspires me to push forward and take advantage of every opportunity I am given.”
Everyone who has had the opportunity of working with, or simply being around Santiago would definitely prove how extraordinary of a person he is. To almost everyone who has been a part of Santiago’s life, he has a brilliant mind and creative imagination—but most of all, he has the amazing ability to use whatever he has to encourage and bring the best out of others. In fact, one of Santiago’s teachers commented this about him:
“He was capable of understanding material quickly and then helping other students who needed more help.”
Santiago Beltran Miranda was born in Colombia in 1995. Although he spent his early childhood in poverty, Santiago’s parents never failed in giving their son all the love and care that they could provide. Santiago’s father worked several jobs so that he could provide for his family and support his son’s pre-school education. The early years of Santiago’s life were filled with happiness in spite of their poor situation.
As early as he can remember, Santiago has always heard his parents tell him how talented he is and how he is going to grow up to become successful in life. The encouragement that Santiago received from his parents developed his confidence and enabled him to express himself much better.
Even as early as the age of three, Santiago already exhibited amazing intelligence and creativity. He was able to learn things at a much faster rate compared to other children, and was able to read even at the age of four. Santiago’s parents saw the amazing potential that he had, and realizing that he would be limited in rising to his full potential in Colombia, gathered as much money as they can so that they can send Santiago to the United States, where they believed he could have a better life.
Moving to the United States
And so, when Santiago was six years old, he and his mother left Colombia and immigrated to the United States (despite not knowing much about speaking English), with his father deciding to temporarily stay and follow afterwards so he could work and support his wife and son Santiago while they started out in the country.
Santiago’s Introduction to Information Technology
Living in a single-parent home was very difficult for Santiago, who often missed his father. Because of this, Santiago spent a lot of time in the library as this was the only way he could cope with the loneliness. As time went by, Santiago found a fondness for reading books about technology, so much so that he immersed himself with the knowledge that would later on help him establish his very own company at a young age.
Little did Santiago know how much the longing to see his father would help him develop an interest in the field of Information Technology. In an interview made with him years later, Santiago recalled the time when he first got introduced to IT because of his desire to connect to his father:
“In 2001, with my mom, we sought political asylum in the United States from Colombia. My dad, who stayed behind to support us while we got settled, was only reachable from a computer or phone. Unknowingly, at this early age, the seed was planted of my passion for computers that over time sprouted to what I love today.”
By the time Santiago was in his eighth grade, he knew so much about technological studies that the subjects being taught in school seemed to be too basic and insufficient for him. Because of this, he took the initiative and started taking college-level classes to further increase his knowledge on information technology. Eventually, Santiago got the chance of acquiring a Webmaster Developer Certification from the North Carolina State University, which was quite exceptional for someone of his age.
Using the information that he got from studying, Santiago started to do freelance work with several clients, designing websites and creating applications for business use. He related this experience in an interview made with him:
“After taking evening classes from January to June and then working on the capstone project, I received my Webmaster Developer Certification from North Carolina State University. My ambitions were not going to stop there though! Having a certification and knowledge in hand, I started a free-lance style business to make websites and web applications for business and organizations. Since then, I still continue to work actively with a few clients on their websites.”
Seeing the power of Information Technology in the lives of people, Santiago wanted to share what he knew to others. However, he later came to find out that there were so many people, especially his fellow youths, who missed just how much benefit learning IT can be in society.
Founding the U-Tech Club
Realizing that something had to be done so that people can be reached with this kind of information, Santiago, with the help of his mother and some of his friends, established the U-Tech Club, an organization that aimed to provide computer access and knowledge to the youths of society who do not have enough resources to get one.
He said in an interview:
“In the 9th grade I founded and since then have lead a non-profit organization called U-Tech Club. With this program, I have been able to help bring children and teens technology access with the partnerships I've formed various organizations. In addition to the organizational partnerships, I've worked directly with students to provide a computer in their own home and provide them with the support and training so that they can use the computers the highest potential.”
Since its founding, the U-Tech Club has reached over eight thousand youths in cities such as Saint Louis and Johnson City, through the partnerships that Santiago has made with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Covenant House. Not only that, but the success attained by the U-Tech Club has been an inspiration to many other organizations of the same field to keep on doing what they are doing for the benefit of the youths of their society.
Recently, Santiago graduated from the Ladue Horton Watkins High School, where he received a scholarship to study in years before. During his time in the school, Santiago was highly regarded by his teachers as one of the best and brightest, because of his amazing ability to quickly learn the lessons and teach them to his fellow classmates. Santiago was able to study at Ladue Horton Watkins High School due to a scholarship that was awarded to him.
In 2013, Santiago was chosen as one of the Very Best in Youth list by the Nestle Foundation, which proved just how much impact he has made not just in his society, but in the country as well. A year before, he was given the Discus Award to recognize his contributions to his community through his organization, the U-Tech Club.
Today, Santiago continues to divide his time between study, work and philanthropy. While he is looking forward to achieve more success, he never forgets the mandate that has been given to him— to reach out to others and help them using the wonders of technology. A remarkable example of how success is not defined by age or cultural background, Santiago’s story reminds us that if we have the will, we can always find a way to reach our goals.
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- U-Tech Club
- Boys and Girls Club
- The Covenant House
Awards and Achievements
- 2012: Received the Discus Award
- 2013: Received the Nestle Very Best in Youth Award
- 2013: Received the Stan Musial Service Award
Discus Awards (Santiago Beltran Miranda)
Ladue Schools (LHWHS Senior Beltran-Miranda Wins “Nestle’ Very Best in Youth” Award)
Nestle USA: Very Best in Youth (The 2013 Winners: Santiago Beltran)