Peruvian becomes first in-person international student in unique Caterpillar program 

The pandemic changed Juan Cavero’s view of life. And now, Pittsburg State University’s Automotive Technology Department is changing it once again. 

After years of working in a variety of fields and roles in his native Peru and in Australia, Cavero decided to pursue a third college degree — this time in a unique program offered only at Pittsburg State. 

“The pandemic made me change my goals and leave my comfort zone, and I decided to work toward other goals in my life,” he said. 

Cavero arrived in Pittsburg in August with his family to study in the Caterpillar ThinkBIGGER program, having completed the Caterpillar ThinkBIG program in 2004 at the Tecsup Technological Institute in Lima, the capital city of Peru. 

Pittsburg State’s program is the only one of its kind worldwide since its inception in the College of Technology in 2001. 

According to program advisor Tim Dell, it provides an opportunity for students like Cavero to earn a bachelor’s degree in two years: ThinkBIG graduates who have a minimum 3.0 GPA can automatically transfer up to 64 college credits to Pittsburg State and complete a bachelor’s in applied science (Diesel and Heavy Equipment emphasis) in 60 credit hours. 

“Prospective students choose the program because it is a tried-and-true proven program that provides a high-quality education with an efficient path and an opportunity to work with a veteran advisor who can help them navigate their short stay on campus,” Dell said.  

Cavero is the program’s first in-person international student.  

“I heard about the option of being able to continue my studies at Pittsburg State University,” Cavero said. “At that time, it seemed like a dream to be able to come to the United States, study at PSU, and have the possibility of being able to work for Caterpillar.”  

Cavero didn’t initially know much about Pittsburg or Pittsburg State, but he has grown to love it and said “it has a great reputation.”  

“In this short time living here, I love this town; it is the right place to learn and live,” he said. “PSU is incredible. I see the quantity of businesses that came in the job fairs from different states of the U.S looking to recruit new people.”  

So far, Cavero has been impressed by the program as well as the faculty.  

“I love the Kansas Technology Center. They have modern labs,” he said. “The ThinkBIGGER program manager Dr. Tim Dell is an expert in his field, he has many publications and books, and I already understand why Caterpillar asked him to take over the program.”  

According to Dell, Cavero has been “a joy to have in class.”  

“He is one of the hardest working professionals that is focused on his education,” Dell said. “It would be a privilege to have an entire classroom full of students exactly like Juan.”  

Cavero said he would recommend the program to those in a similar field as his.  

“I would certainly recommend the program, since it allows you to expand your field of work. With a university degree and even more from a prestigious university like PSU, the possibilities are endless, no matter where you want to work, you will be prepared to face new challenges in your professional life,” he said. 

Learn more:

Caterpillar ThinkBIGGER

International Programs & Services