Hometown: Springfield, IL
high school: Lanphier HS
college: Stanford University
MAJOR: Biomedical / Chemical Engineering
Eric Mason was born into a low-income family on the southside of Chicago, IL. This was just one of many aspects that heavily stressed his upbringing. Although Eric was faced with so many challenges at such a young age, he was able to push forward with his persistence and lust for knowledge and make a path that others could follow.
The adversity that Eric has faced has helped meld his persona and spirit. Eric moved back and forth from Chicago to Springfield Illinois as a young child. When he finally settled in Springfield, with a new family, horror struck again. His foster mother, Bessie Mae Davis, passed away of brain cancer and Eric was cast onto the streets. Even as a young homeless boy in highschool, Eric did not give up. Instead of releasing his energy in a negative way he took the positive route, and more specifically the path of the pavement. Eric allowed the world of running to consume him and he rose to become the captain of his Track and Cross Country teams as a sophomore. Eric forged ahead and helped create a new image of his school’s running programs by using his dedication and intrinsic motivation; however, this isn’t the only place where Eric has made his marks.
Eric has not only left an imprint inside of his school’s programs, but inside of his community as well. He is an avid volunteer for local sports teams, blood centers, and charitable organizations. To be specific with his nature of community involvement, Eric loves to truly help and connect with others on a different level. He is able to establish these interpersonal relationships through tutoring and guest speaking about his homeless experiences. Eric has had the drive to succeed so that he can impact others on large scale, but there is one thing that he wants to do to change the world.
Ever since Eric was young he was haunted by a malignant cellular disorder, cancer. Eric has been chased by this disease, as it has consumed his guardians and acquaintances. He feels that no one should have to go through the same emotional turmoil that he had to endure, so he aspires to combat cancer as a biomedical engineer. He is also interested in studying prominent diseases in third world countries to create affordable treatments and care.
Eric has faced homelessness, starvation, and even domestic abuse; however, he does not believe that his circumstances made him. Eric believes that his decisions, undying desire to succeed, and faith in God have helped push him through. Through it all Eric was able to maintain a 5.8621 GPA and seclude a spot as the Lanphier High School Class of 2016 salutatorian. Eric does not believe that his story is meant to make people feel sorry for him, but instead give them power and hope as they endure the adversity that they must face in life. He plans to spread this message to the future generations and leave his mark on the world.