FirstGen@ND: Dominick Jesús Blanco From the Bronx to Notre Dame

Author: Jessica Frazier

Originally from the Bronx, New York City, Dominick Jesús Blanco '24 says he came to find Notre Dame by pure luck when a teacher posted about visiting the Notre Dame campus and on a whim, Dominick said “yes” to the invitation.

“From the moment I visited campus, I fell in love with it and the community.” Blanco says.

Currently a senior majoring in computer science with a minor in Latino studies, Blanco has actively contributed to the Notre Dame community, particularly focusing on fellow first-generation students like himself. Serving as a board member for First Generation Career Initiatives (FGC), Blanco collaborates with current undergraduate first-generation students.

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, located in Duncan Student Center, established the First Generation Careers Initiatives to foster the career development of first-generation students. The initiative provides resources such as resume workshops, financial assistance for professional clothing, networking events, and panel discussions.

Dominick Blanco '24

Blanco attests that his involvement as a board member and attendee of FGC events has transformed Duncan Student Center into a second home on campus. Through this engagement, he has formed friendships and received invaluable guidance from mentors like DJ Washington, director of employer and regional engagement at the Career Center.

"DJ has been a tremendous help in my career exploration and has been an amazing mentor," Blanco acknowledges. "Seeing him lead a team and witnessing how he has pursued his aspirations is inspirational, especially as a fellow first-gen student. I can envision myself in his shoes, which has boosted my confidence and inspired me to take on leadership roles."

Apart from his involvement with FGC, Blanco holds the position of President at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). He is an active member of various campus groups, including Wabruda, the National Society of Black Engineers, and participates actively in Black and Latino communities on campus.

“I found my sense of belonging by joining these clubs and groups—I’ve found my community in those small pockets,” Blanco says.” Those are my home on campus in terms of embracing new cultures and meeting people from around the world.”

Furthermore, Blanco is a member and teaching assistant for the Mary E. Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars program, crediting it with playing a transformative role in his academic and social development at Notre Dame. This program offers academic and emotional support to underrepresented students interested in science and engineering disciplines.

Blanco's experiences extend beyond the Notre Dame campus, including participation in internships at various organizations such as a nonprofit, Ford Motor Company, Gaya.AI, and Zillow.

As Blanco approaches the culmination of his final semester at Notre Dame, he looks ahead with excitement. His post-graduation plans include relocating to Seattle, Washington, to work as a software engineer for Oracle.

"Coming from the Bronx, I faced numerous challenges, but I was fortunate to have a strong support system that believed in me," Blanco reflects. "My journey from the Bronx to Notre Dame was transformative, shaping not just my education but my character. The guidance and encouragement I received along the way have been instrumental in my growth. This opportunity at Oracle is not just a career milestone but a testament to the resilience and determination instilled in me during my upbringing in the Bronx. It's a reminder that with hard work, support, and belief in oneself, any goal can be achieved."

Watch the video above to hear more about Dominick’s journey at Notre Dame.