Sergio Mendoza, now a CSI senior, was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador and came to this country in 2008. When in high school in Brooklyn, one of the major struggles he faced was the language barrier. Although a dedicated student, not knowing English resulted in lower grades. Nonetheless, he overcame these challenges and arrived at CSI in fall of 2012 as a new member of the SEEK Program. At CSI, he has earned an impressive 3.92 GPA and is looking forward to graduating this spring. During these years, he has not only qualified for the Dean’s List and Chi Alpha Epsilon (CSI’s chapter of the National Honor Society for Opportunity Programs) but was one of the founders of SEEK’s “Men of Excellence” group, serving as a leader among its Black and Latino members. A first generation college student, Sergio chose to major in Spanish education (with minors in English-linguistics and Italian) because he feels that “there’s nothing that connects one to a culture better than its language.” His initial struggles with English and the stigma of not being able to speak English fluently inspires him to want to help other non-native speakers of English. With a future goal of becoming a high school Spanish teacher or language professor in college, he hopes to have an impact on others and give back to society by helping and educating young people. Sergio’s advice to incoming freshman is to always be optimistic. “College life might be intimidating,” he says, “but with a positive attitude and perseverance one can achieve anything. The most important suggestion is: don’t learn and study just to pass a class, learn and study for the sake of learning. Classes come and go, but knowledge stays. That is the path to success.”
For more exciting news from SEEK, please visit the SEEK website.