Samuel Sandoval

From the time he was given his first computer at age 11, Samuel Sandoval knew he wanted to pursue a career working with computers.

“It’s fun, challenging, and I never get bored,” says Sandoval, 21, who built the computer that he uses in college today.  

Sandoval grew up in Fairfax, Va., and attended a mainstream high school. In his junior and senior years, he attended Chantilly Academy to take computer courses, and became A+ certified, earning competency in areas including installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting.

This tech-savvy, second-year student recently completed an NTID associate degree program in Applied Computing Technology, and this fall will begin a bachelor’s degree program in Information Technology in RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

“I came to RIT because of its good technical reputation, the excellent support services and the large number of deaf students,” he explains. “I like that I can request interpreters at events, and that there are tutors who sign and deaf professors I can go to for help. The communication is easy here.”

Sandoval was inspired by the words of motivational speaker Mark Victor Hansen, who said, “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. Get started now. With each step you take, you’ll grow stronger, more skilled, more self-confident and more successful.”

In 2010, Sandoval decided to heed those words and pursue his passion for technology issues related to deaf people by starting DeafTechNews (, a website that covers issues related to deaf technology products, assistive technology, video relay services and technology-related accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. He currently is developing a DeafTechNews app for the iPone and iPod Touch.

In addition to spending several hours a day maintaining the website, this Dean’s list student is a member of the NTID Computer Club.

A co-op placement this summer will send Sandoval to Cisco Systems in San Jose, Calif., where he will work as an accessible software engineering intern. His responsibilities will include testing products to ensure they meet accessibility standards.

Considering his future, Sandoval wants the American Dream—“A good job with excellent pay and a family.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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