Erick: Unlocking another strength

National Scholars Program

“I’d never thought of myself as a leader.”

Versatility defines Erick. His myriad interests, from music and writing to astronomy and art, make Erick a bona fide polymath. Erick says he also has honed his sensitivity, boosting his ability to read people, which he demonstrated even through the constraints of videoconferences during Pathways to College sessions while isolated due to COVID-19.

“I’d never thought of myself as a leader,” Erick says, of the early days of his Pathways sessions, “but I learned that I have some leadership qualities. I’m confident and good at talking to people and being receptive to how people feel.”

Erick is a Pathways National Scholar whose family left the bustling Bronx behind to live in a town in pastoral New York where the biggest claim to fame is its high number of reported UFO sightings. So, no wonder, Erick loves to stargaze and engage in other activities that indulge his vibrant imagination.

“I’m not set on doing one thing or another,” Erick says, of his future career plans. “I’m into computer engineering, science and industrial construction.”

But Erick, who is as much at home in rural upstate New York as he is in his family’s ancestral kitchen in the Dominican Republic, feasting on a bowl of his grandmother’s traditional sancocho stew, also has a passion for poetry. He delights in the works of Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, and William Shakespeare, but says he’s waiting for a spark to pen his own prose. Erick also is an accomplished musician, as his position as his school band’s first chair clarinet suggests. Erick’s anime-influenced artwork appeared in the 2021 edition of the Pathways publication, Scholar Voices, an annual repository of the best work from Scholars and alumni.

“In Pathways, you get the whole rundown on what colleges are like,” Erick says. “It’s been interesting meeting other Scholars online, from different parts of the country, and hearing them talk about their own lives. We’ve done presentations and discussed social issues. I tell younger Scholars about the benefit of getting introduced to colleges and getting the feeling about them and what they might provide. It’s been really fun being in Pathways.”