I was born in the Andean Highlands with little resources, such as running water or food and a very rudimentary education. After my grandmother died, my family moved to the city of Ambato, giving me access to better public schools, which my mother strongly valued. During my senior year, I competed nationally for a scholarship to come to the US to attend Cornwall in Great Barrington. This was the start of my educational journey in the United States. In 1964 I met an Italian Immigrant who saw himself in me and helped me achieve success. I was hired as a dishwasher at the Highland Restaurant, which he owned. This helped me raise the funds needed to attend BCC. While at BCC, I met my wife and reconnected with a young Ecuadorian man. He and I shared an apartment together until one night it burned to the ground and we lost everything. Having no place to go, Prof. Phinney offered his home to me which enabled me to continue my studies. After completing an Associate's degree, I applied at UMass and enrolled in Electrical Engineering. Eventually, I transferred to Westfield State to pursue a BA in Education. After graduating from Westfield, I was offered a position as a Language Laboratory Technician and had to continue graduate studies at UMass where I received a Master's and Ph.D. I had vowed to earn a degree in the US and was able to fulfill this promise I made to my parents upon my return home to Ecuador. Sadly, my mom passed away four years later.
– Napoleon Sanchez