According to Caitlin Samantha Gomes-Rodrigues, her house is a hub of excitement right now. Her parents are incredibly excited that her college dreams are coming to fruition, and “Every time I get an acceptance from a college, my mom feels like she did something right.”
Top on her list are the Ivy League schools, but like students across the country she applied to a broad spectrum of colleges. A QuestBridge finalist, she is anxiously awaiting decisions from her choices, and credits the CRB College Counseling office with helping with the application process.
Finding out who she is was a process that unfolded at Cristo Rey Boston, according to Caitlyn. “I found my voice at CRB because I tend to keep to myself, but at CRB I met people who were very ambitious and use their voice. Teachers encouraged me to speak up because I have good ideas. I have learned to speak up to advocate for myself- now I am strong and resilient.” Caitlyn continued, “While at CRB I was able to find my voice and share that with people around me. Everyone at CRB, from the faculty to my peers, truly listen and give the best advice.”
During Covid, she has relied on the support of the staff at CRB, noting that “All the teachers that have taught me in the past and are teaching me now have kept me sane and motivated me to try harder. This semester I am most excited to see what the teachers have to offer me inside the classroom and what my future might look like.
Noting that her dad was the driving force behind her decision to apply to Cristo Rey Boston, she continued, “At first glance, you might not consider it [Cristo Rey Boston] as your top choice, but teachers and faculty really take the time to get to know you and what you are looking to do- what your goals are. They are thinking ahead about your future rather than just in the moment.”
Caitlyn’s future includes majoring in either chemistry or biology on a pre-med track with a goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon. She credits her Corporate Work Study experience as helpful in exposing her to the world of science. During her tenure at CRB, she has worked at both Novartis and the Broad Institute. During her time at the Broad Institute, she worked as a lab intern, preparing lab samples, and doing quality checks on the lab machinery. “What I liked most about Broad Institute was the people I worked with and how they were very descriptive with everything they taught me,” Caitlyn noted.
Due to Covid restrictions, working at the Broad this year was not an option. However, Caitlyn noted that the biggest challenge, and ultimately the biggest advantage of the Corporate Work Study program was “being in a new setting and being the youngest person working with much more experienced people. I had to show them I could do the work and understand the science behind the work. I wanted to learn and take in new opportunities while putting my best foot forward.”
Caitlyn has an older brother, and three younger siblings, and was raised in Dorchester. Despite her family suffering the impact of Covid with lost jobs and other stressors, she noted that “with each other to rely on we are making it through.” “As an older sibling, I want to know I impacted them and taught them to act a certain way, but they can be themselves and find their own voices.”