Ana Patricia Trujillo-Mendino

“I waited for 11 years to go to RIT,” says Ana Patricia Trujillo-Mendino. “I wanted to come after high school, but I couldn’t afford to live on my own.”

Trujillo-Mendino, age 30, was born in Mexico to hearing parents. Her family, including three siblings, two of whom are deaf, later moved to the U.S. She attended a mainstream high school in Los Angeles and became a citizen in 2008 while attending Glendale Community College. She worked for seven years for CLIMB, Inc., a center for independent living for visually impaired people. At a workshop for the Latino community through RIT/NTID’s DeafTEC—a project designed to improve career awareness for deaf and hard-of-hearing high school and college students in STEM Fields—she finally got the chance she’d been waiting for. There she met RIT/NTID faculty members Donna Lange, Elissa Olsen and Karen Beiter, who, after learning her story, convinced her that it’s never too late to go back to school and that she could, and should, pursue her long-time dream and continue her education at RIT/NTID.

Trujillo-Mendino currently is a freshman transfer student studying for an associate degree in Applied Computer Technology. She hopes to continue her studies and graduate in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and a minor in Engineering. She’d like to work in information technology, maybe with the FBI, CIA or a police department.

“I am very proud to be here,” says Trujillo-Mendino. “I want to be the first person in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree. I want my family to be proud of me.”

“The courses are challenging,” she says, “but I do not give up. I love math, and both computers and engineering have a math focus. I’ve always wanted to go to RIT because of the great education offered for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This was my dream, and I am now living it.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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