Juan Beltran is the president of the Organization of Latino American students at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. He’s a biology major and he moved to North Dakota “to try his luck” after finishing high school in California. He’s one of the thousands that have flocked to North Dakota’s oil fields in the state’s oil boom that began in 2006. In 2012, North Dakota saw the biggest growth in the Latino population, fueled by the state’s low unemployment rate.
At first, Juan didn’t think he’d stay for very long. But the booming oil industry, the education opportunities, and the hospitality ended up changing his mind.
Maria Hinojosa’s new show, America By The Numbers on PBS and The World Channel has another story about the oil boom in North Dakota and how it’s affecting its Native American reservations.
Juan Beltran was born in French Camp, CA and raised in Stockton, CA. He graduated from Edison Senior High School in May 2010 and moved to North Dakota in December of that year. He began undergraduate studies at the University of North Dakota in the Fall of 2011 and majors in biology with a minor in chemistry. He is currently studying for the MCAT and plans to go to medical school after graduation.
Photo of Watford City, North Dakota in July, 2013, by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.