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Dallas College Shines: Jesus Cavazos Studies Science to Inspire Other Autistic Students

Even though you’re undecided, what job stands out to you in the science field? 
Probably a pharmacist. 
What was your journey coming to Dallas College? 
When I was in high school, I knew that I was going to continue to study. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go straight into a university or a community college. After I graduated high school, I decided to go to a community college because I felt like I needed more time to get used to the environment and improve my social skills. 
What type of support do you receive that helps you succeed in your classes? 
The accessibility services have been a great support. Whenever I need help, there is always someone there to help me. My success coach is also a great resource in guiding me to make the right decisions and take the right classes. I’ve gotten help from my teachers and family. When there are times I don’t understand what is being taught in class, they teach it to me in a different way that’s very helpful. In the accessibility office, Jerusha Labady has also been instrumental in my college journey.  
What has your journey with autism been like, and how has it affected your college experience? 
Before college when I was in elementary and middle school, I had a lot of therapy. For autistic people, it’s not that they can’t do certain things. They just need some help. For me, my family has always been very supportive and has been there for me ever since I was diagnosed at four years old. When I graduate from college, it’ll be for myself but also for my family. Thinking about graduating for myself and my family makes me happy to know that I’ve made so much progress and have improved in several areas of my life. It’s going to be a big accomplishment for me. 
What are some dreams or goals you hope to achieve? 
My main goal is to go to a four-year university and have a career in the science field. And personally, I want to learn another language. Right now, I speak English, Spanish, and 50% Portuguese. I love linguistics. I want to learn as many languages as I can to continue to improve my social skills.  
What have you enjoyed the most about being a student at Dallas College? 
I really enjoy the atmosphere with the teachers and the students. It makes me get up every morning with joy and gratefulness just being able to attend my classes. 
What kind of legacy do you hope to have? 
I want people to know that autism is a diagnosis, not a sentence. Just because society thinks that autistic people don’t have the potential to go to a university, that mindset should change. I try to demonstrate that even though we have obstacles because I’ve gone through therapy and have the support from others, especially my family. With higher expectations and quality education, autistic people can achieve their goals.  
What would you tell other autistic students who hope to go to college? 
You can do it! Don’t be shy to ask questions. There are people you can count on who will help you. 

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