Nelsy Carcamo

Nelsy Carcamo, 22, exudes confidence, optimism and ambition, but she didn’t always feel this way.

“I was very shy and didn’t have much confidence or many friends growing up,” says the recent Laboratory Science Technology graduate, and current bachelor’s degree student in the Environmental Studies program in RIT’s College of Science.

Carcamo emigrated from Honduras to America in 1997 with her family in search of a better life. They settled in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

“My life growing up was not easy,” she says. “Being immersed in a new culture, needing to learn English and adjusting to a progressive hearing loss was difficult.”

Because of the challenges she’s faced and met, Carcamo has a “can do” attitude and looks at challenges as new learning opportunities.

“You learn from your struggles, and they make you a stronger person,” she says.

The first in her family to attend college, Carcamo says that RIT has changed her life.

“RIT/NTID is a special place for deaf and hard-of-hearing students—a place where you are warmly accepted and given many opportunities to reach your potential,” she says.

“I love my major and appreciate the care and encouragement I receive from my teachers—they are like family and play a big part in my success here.”

Carcamo received the “Most Outstanding Student in Chemistry Award” and the “Chemical Technology Student Recognition Award,” both from the American Chemical Society. She won first place at RIT’s Undergraduate Research Symposium last year, and presented her award-winning research at the National American Chemical Society Convention in Salt Lake City in April. She also recently was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to continue research efforts on lung cancer.

When she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she’d like to pursue a master’s degree and perhaps a Ph.D. She hopes to work someday for the Environmental Protection Agency or to teach in Honduras.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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