California State University, San Marcos
Recipient, William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement
Erik Eldridge came from a household beset with instability and poverty. He changed schools 11 times growing up, and attended three different high schools. Survival was more important at the time than education. After spending three years in a monastery that emphasized meditation and community service and then working with a small Web design firm, Erik became his mother's primary caregiver during her long battle with ovarian cancer. After she passed away in 2003, he returned to school with a fierce determination to complete his education and live a full stable life. He is majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics, and is currently president of two student organizations-the Association for Computing Machinery and the Math Club. Erik has been accepted as a computer science research intern at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. After graduation from CSU San Marcos, Erik's goal is to work in commercial software development while pursuing a graduate degree in computer science.