Gabriela Cardona ’16

As a 21-year-old college senior, Gabriela Cardona has done something most people never accomplish: She’s already an author.

Gabriela initially wrote “Ava’s Last Day of Summer,” a children’s book about hearing loss, as her honors project. When she realized her book could help children who are deaf and their families, she decided to offer it to the public. The book is now available on “I’ve always wanted to help people and this book made that possible,’’ Gabriela said. “For a child, being deaf can pose challenges, and the book guides the child through his or her journey.’’

Her book—illustrated by her cousin, Marcus Cardona—chronicles the experience of 6-year-old Ava as she prepares for her first day of kindergarten. Ava is deaf and wears hearing aids that are “light blue’’—her favorite color.

Gabriela, who is completing her degree in three years, graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders and a minor in thanatology—the study of death, loss, and grieving. URI was her first choice. She fell in love with the woody campus and was impressed with the University’s communicative disorders program. She also jumped at the chance to play field hockey on the URI club team.

After graduation, Gabriela plans to pursue her master’s degree at URI in speech language pathology. “I’m proud of my work,’’ she said. “And I’m excited to see what the next years will bring.’’