The 18-year-old will leave the charter school with a 3.96 cumulative GPA and experience as an intern at a top-flight architectural firm. He’ll take his knowledge, drive and work ethic this fall to California Baptist University, a private school in Southern California.
“Originally, I had no clue where I wanted to go,” Nolen said, but the school’s engineering program and size intrigued him, and after a visit to campus, Nolen had made up his mind.
“I really liked the opportunities that CBU has.”
Nolen wants to pursue something in the engineering and physics field, a reflection of his passion for all things mechanical.
“I really love anything involving automobiles,” he said. “I just love the history of things mechanically inclined.”
His dream job, he said, would be something in the automotive field, or possibly as a club and ball designer in the golf industry.
That second idea springs in part from his high school experience — though he had rarely swung a club before, he was a member of the Millennium golf team all four years.
“I just picked it up,” he said, adding that he hopes to continue shaving off strokes as he goes to college.
He said his time at Millennium — he was home-schooled through eighth grade — makes him feel well-prepared for the new challenges that await him at university and beyond.
“It forces you to work hard. It’s a lot of hours,” he said of the school’s rigorous load. “It’s also a lot of opportunities.”
He is the son of Dana and Michael Nolen, who moved the family to Tracy from Chicago in 2003, and the brother of Jarod, Abby and Lydia Nolen.