Jasmine Oregel

Because of her determination to succeed, her family’s enduring support, and tuition assistance from a Max Factor Family Foundation scholarship, Jasmine Oregel, 21, is the first member of her family to go to college.

Born to hearing parents, Oregel became deaf due to illness when she was a toddler. Her parents moved her and her family from Mexico to California to afford Oregel more opportunities.

In spite of her family’s efforts and support, growing up for this Santa Ana, Calif., student was difficult.

“I attended a mainstream school, but for many years I rebelled because I felt like I didn’t fit in with my peers,” she explains. “It took me several years to accept my deafness, and I realized to succeed in life I had to work hard in school.”

So that’s what Oregel did. She excelled in her studies, often taking classes with upper-level classmates as a freshman and sophomore, and she participated on her high school softball and basketball teams.

Of her desire and decision to go to college, Oregel says, “Coming from a traditional Mexican family, the idea of traveling cross country to attend college was unheard of. Initially, my parents wanted me to remain in California like the rest of my family. But I believed that RIT/NTID was the best choice for me to reach my goals. My parents supported me in my decision because they wanted me to be happy and successful.”

This third-year Computer Aided Drafting Technology student has shown her family it was the right choice.

“Today I am an involved student on the RIT/NTID campus,” she says. “I played on the RIT softball team, and I am a member of Alpha Sigma Theta Sorority. The sisterhood bond I share with my sorority sisters has helped me build my leadership skills and confidence level.”

Oregel’s goal is a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, and a job in the aerospace or automotive industries.

“I want to be an example for other women to show that we can do it,” she says.

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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