Eric Cardenas

With an associate degree in Applied Computer Technology in hand, and on his way to a bachelor’s degree in Urban Community Studies, Eric Cardenas, 22, is well-positioned to follow his chosen career path and achieve his goals.

Cardenas, a fourth-year student from Pharr, Texas, says he has learned a lot at RIT about race, class, gender and deafness, and he enjoys studying, researching and analyzing deaf urban communities.

“My goal is to write a book about deaf urban communities in Latin America,” says Cardenas. “My plan to help me reach that goal is to travel in Latin America and study deaf communities in the various countries.”

“My goal is to write a book about deaf urban communities in Latin America.”

He attended a Baptist temple in his hometown where he worked with deaf professionals who became his role models. Attending RIT/NTID’s Explore Your Future program as a high school student made him certain that RIT was where he should pursue his career goals.

Leadership comes naturally to Cardenas. He was banquet chairperson for the Texas Latino Council of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and NTID’s Hispanic Deaf Club has benefited from his leadership as president.

Cardenas has won many awards and scholarships, including the Horatio Alger Association Scholarship, a national award given to high school students who have overcome obstacles while demonstrating strength of character, a commitment to pursue a college education and a desire to contribute to society.

“When I won the Horatio Alger Association Scholarship, they paid all my expenses, including interpreters, for a trip to Washington, D.C., where I met celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and corporate CEOs,” he says. “It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.”

Cardenas has completed one co-op in the computer field in his hometown, and is seeking another in urban community studies. Between studying, club work and a part-time job, Cardenas still has time to reflect on a favorite quote that speaks to his sense of accomplishment and desire to achieve—“Don’t miss your moment.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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