Deaf Person of the Month
Aerospace Engineering graduate
When Nadmi Casiano-Berrios received her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University on May 12, 2018, she became the first Deaf Puerto Rican woman (puertorriqueña) to graduate in that field.
Getting there was a long and frustrating path. A native of SA Juan, she attended a private school as its only deaf student. She enjoyed playing basketball and vollyball In third grade, she learned about the planets and fell in love with science. She also enjoyed repairing broken electrical items; her father taught her about electricy and auto repair. And she told her mother she wanted to be an astronaut.
When Casiano told her counselor she wanted to major in Aerospace Engineering, she received a negative response—
discouragement instad of encouragement. But she refused to give up. Since Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico didn't offer an Aerospace Englineering program, she took Mechanical Engineering instead, but wasn't satisfied Upon learning that San Diego State University offers an Aerospace Engineering program, she applied, was accepted, and transferred there.
She had to learn American Sign Language and English, but is grateful to her family for their unwavering support.
Another obstacle was the attitude of her professors. They simply weren't used to working with a Deaf woman. So she worked hard to break down the ibstacles. She participated in clubs and internships. With four classmates, she led a robitics project, and her team won the competition.
But she persevered, and she succeeded. "I was tough for me because I was in the field of engineering—I [was] up against men who think women don't belong there. I took the challenges very well and, by graduating, proved them wrong."