At the age of four, Mr. Adorno moved to New York from Puerto Rico with his parents and two siblings. He says learning that his older brother had dropped out of high school made him resolve to graduate and go on to college.
While in high school, he was involved in numerous activities, including serving as president of the student government. He also participated in the New York State Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), a program funded by the New York State Department of Education and designed to help students typically underrepresented in STEM and health-related professions, pursue careers in those fields. He also began a youth mentoring program called “Youth in Action,” a collaboration between his school and the nonprofit Centro Civico of Amsterdam, an organization focused on building self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
Despite the language barrier that prevented his parents from being able to help him, he persevered through the college application process and was accepted to Northeastern University.
With the help of an HSF Scholarship, he is now a sophomore majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and continues to mentor high school students, while also volunteering at a daycare center for underprivileged children, and participating in the InterVarsity Latino Fellowship, a “Christian campus community dedicated to faith and outreach.”
He is a Torch Scholar at Northeastern. The Torch program empowers and provides educational support for first-generation students who might not otherwise be able to attend college.
Mr. Adorno’s immediate goals are to graduate with a 3.5 or higher GPA, go to medical school, and become a pediatrician in his hometown, to help the local Hispanic community receive the healthcare they need.
This summer, he was one of the top 114 Scholars invited to attend HSF’s National Leadership Conference (NLC) in Los Angeles, California. NLC is an annual event that provides the top HSF Scholars in the current class an inside track to academic and professional excellence, through a combination of mentoring, professional insights, and career guidance.
He says attending the conference was a turning point. Having always felt he was the “odd one out” in his hometown, because most of his fellow honors students were Caucasian, he says his experience with HSF has made him feel that he is now part of a family of scholars who look like him.
He has reassuring words for other students who will have to forge their own paths toward their goals: “Even if you feel like the odds are against you, pursue your passion because everything will fall into its place.”
And, he has similar advice about college. “Just go for it,” he says, “even if you do not think college is for you…. [It’s] a learning process, and you will find your niche.”