Jorge "Tony" Mendoza '18

Jorge “Tony” Mendoza ’18 will graduate this May with both a bachelor's and master’s degree, but instead of going immediately into the workforce, he will spend the summer cycling from Long Beach, California to Washington, D.C. in an effort to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

The fifth-year BS/MS Mechanical Engineering Technology/Mechanical & Manufacturing Systems Integration student will be participating in the Journey of Hope, an event organized by The Ability Experience, his fraternity’s, Pi Kappa Phi, philanthropy.   

“It is my goal to learn to better appreciate and promote the abilities of all people,” said Tony. “I believe that together we can create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued.”

His passion for giving back is something Tony credits to his time at RIT, as he was able to join a fraternity focused on philanthropy. 

“At RIT I expanded myself and grew in ways I didn’t expect,” he said. “Although I wasn’t a very social person when I came to RIT, I wanted to join Pi Kappa Phi because I saw that they made an impact on the Rochester community, America, and also themselves.”

Besides organizing events on campus and in Rochester for The Ability Experience, Tony has also participated in Alternative Spring Break, Student Government, the Society of Hispanic Engineers and the RIT chapter of Engineers of Color Creating Opportunities, which he founded with other campus leaders. He mentors and tutors his fellow students, as well.

“Whatever I do, I want it to be impacting someone else’s life,” he said.

Tony recognizes his path to RIT was made possible by one important group of people—RIT donors. The first in his family to attend college, the Houston native found his way to Rochester because of the scholarship support he received. The scholarships have also enabled him to pursue his service activities while at the university.

“Not knowing me or the other students who receive scholarships, but giving anyway is really extraordinary. I’m truly grateful,” Tony said. “When people make these gifts to scholarships, they are saying they believe that people can grow and become someone who makes the world better. Thank you for believing that I can have a positive impact on others. Thank you for believing in me.”

Tony hopes to use his new degrees to continue to help people with disabilities. After he returns from his journey this summer, he will pursue a career in additive manufacturing discovering ways to use 3-D printing technology to better lives.

Jorge Mendoza