Overcoming Autism through Art

Calvin Nye

Calvin Nye and mother Cathi

Calvin Nye and his mother, Cathi, at a CI World Autism Day event, where Calvin was a speaker.

Age: 23

Hometown: Ventura

Major: Art

Bio: Diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, Nye achieved his goal of graduating from college and becoming a comic book artist. At CI, he educated students, teachers and families about autism as a motivational speaker. He recently published “Ricky the Fangirl Killer” and is working on his next comic book about an autistic superhero.

Why CI: “Some people doubted my ability to go to a four-year university. I proved I could do it regardless of my challenges. CI made a big difference in my life. It helped me become more independent, confident, flexible and patient, and challenged me to become a better artist.”

From the Navy to Nursing

River Marie Rose

River Marie Rose

Rose tends to a “patient” in the Nursing Program’s Simulation Lab.

Age: 51

Hometown: Camarillo

Major: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Bio: A former sonar technician who served in the U.S. Navy for 24 years, Rose entered CI in 2011 with the goal of becoming a nurse at a military facility or Veteran Affairs hospital.

Why CI: “The Veteran Affairs department here is very focused on helping veterans feel proud of their military time and the contributions they have made to this country. ... I am very proud to be an example to my children of adapting and overcoming life’s twists and turns – of showing them that they can do and be anything, no matter what phase of life they are in.”

Making a Difference in the Community

Jessica Rodriguez

Jessica Rodriguez

Rodriguez, the first college graduate in her family, tutors disadvantaged children.

Age: 23

Hometown: Moorpark

Major: Sociology and Psychology

Bio: Rodriguez, a first-generation college student and the daughter of former migrant farmworkers, was a full-time double-major who earned a 3.3 GPA while mentoring and tutoring at-risk children 20 hours a week at El Centrito Family Learning Center in Oxnard.

Why CI: “CI is a second family. Everyone knows each other and supports each other. It’s different from other schools because you get to know your professors and work closely with them. Not everyone gets to go to a school where you feel like you belong.”

Getting a Global Education 

Gardy Borromeo

Gardy Borromeo

Borromeo on a recent service-learning and travel experience trip to Japan.

Age: 23

Hometown: Oxnard

Major: Chemistry and Biology

Bio: Borromeo, a senior, won a competitive international scholarship to spend the summer studying at South Korea’s Yonsei University. As a junior, he traveled to Japan to help oyster farmers devastated by the 2011 tsunami as part of a CI service-learning and travel experience course. This year, he will host foreign exchange students and promote study abroad and scholarship opportunities at CI.

Why CI: “CI has made such a huge impact in my life. Students get a great education and one-on-one interaction with professors who care about their success.”

Reaching Scientific Success

Jose Medina

Jose Medina

Medina and his mentor, Dr. Phil Hampton, Professor of Chemistry.

Age: 23

Hometown: Thousand Oaks

Major: Chemistry

Bio: A native of Peru who moved to California at the age of 13, Medina graduated in May and won a fellowship from UCLA to earn his Master’s and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.

Why CI: “CI’s small class sizes really allow you to make strong connections with the faculty. It was at CI – more specifically at Dr. Phil Hampton’s lab – where I decided I wanted a career in Chemistry. What I was able to learn in class and apply in the lab was the biggest factor in my decision to attend grad school.”

Helping Students Feel at Home

Sequoia Hill

Sequoia Hill

Hill, a two-time Resident Assistant, outside Anacapa Village, a student residence hall.

Age: 19

Hometown: Woodland Hills

Major: Communication

Bio: Hill is entering her second year as a Resident Assistant. Last year, she helped 45 first-year students in Santa Cruz Village feel at home. She says living on CI’s picturesque campus has made her proud, connected and more active in campus life as a member of multiple student organizations and clubs.

Why CI: “CI lives by its motto of being a student-centered campus. The people here do everything they can to help you further your education. As an R.A., I enjoyed knowing that I made students’ first year smoother and helped them find clubs and organizations where they could thrive.”