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Soldier, Father, Donor: Lee Scholar Rises to Meet Challenges

Taking the easy route isn’t in this former Marine’s nature.

People  |  Aug 9, 2017  |  By UNLV News Center
man in suit standing

Lee Scholars program puts student Kristian Que in position to succeed. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services)

What do you do after spending four years as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps? When Kristian Que was discharged, he signed up for four years in the Army National Guard armored cavalry. So much for hard-earned rest. But Que is always up for a challenge, taking the difficult path when he can because it’s the difficult path.

A single father of two, Que moved to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 7. He graduated from Lee Business School in December with dual degrees in economics and marketing.

He earned those degrees with help from the Lee Scholars program.

“With my savings dwindling and my GI Bill nearly exhausted, the Lee Scholars program gave me the means to achieve my goals without having to choose between graduating or dropping out to provide for my family,” he said.  But he had to face a lot of challenges head-on to get to where he is today.

After the Military

After his military service, Que entered the IT sector. But as he quickly rose up the ranks, he realized that he would need an academic degree to make further headway. So it was time to go back to school.

“That first semester, I was at the math department every day for tutoring,” he said. It paid off. He got a 99 percent for his final grade. “But I don’t get good grades because I’m smart,” he laughed. “I get them because I’m persistent. If I’m not a natural at something, I’ll work harder. So right then, I decided to dual major, adding in marketing, which is on the more qualitative end of the business spectrum.”

These challenges have driven Que to great accomplishments. He received the Lee Scholarship two years in a row, an experience he says you can’t put a price on. Last year, Que, along with colleague Katelyn O’Hara, presented at UNLV’s Undergraduate Research Forum. With data generated from multiple disciplines – political science and history, among others – they used an economics model to determine the probability of a presidential assassination attempt.

“It was tough because, for instance, one variable was: Is there a war going on? Well, how do you define ‘war’? But I wanted to show the versatility of economic formulas outside of economics,” he said.

And he succeeded. The unique topic and unorthodox application of economic models won a cash prize – which Que unflinchingly donated back to the Lee Business School.

“UNLV has given me so many opportunities, I decided that I could give back as a way to show my gratitude,” he explained. “If it weren’t for the help and all of the opportunities I’d received, I wouldn’t have been in the position where I could compete at all.”

“When there’s no struggle, when there’s no obstacle, you’re not really growing or improving as a person. I like that process, so I apply it to every facet of my life.”