Quinten Hernandez ’21

Quinten Hernandez discovered the power of authenticity as an IC student and staff member.

Quinten Hernandez sits and talks with a female student.

Quinten Hernandez '21 talks with a student in the Center for Student Success. 

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” says Quinten Hernandez ’21, who discovered the importance of being himself while he was a student at IC. Now, the first-generation graduate, who transferred to IC from a community college, views authenticity as an asset in his role as a success coach with IC’s Center for Student Success. It’s a job where he is able to help people forge their most genuine and affirming paths.

When Quinten graduated from high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he questioned whether attending a four-year college was the right choice for him. As his high school classmates moved away to various campuses, he enrolled at a local community college. Then, while visiting a friend at Ithaca College, he witnessed a community he truly wanted to be a part of: “I just fell in love. Ithaca is so accepting and welcoming. There is so much celebration of each other here,”says Quinten. A dancer and longtime photographer, he also noted the variety of art and theatre scenes in Ithaca on that first visit.

Cameras and Callings

At IC, Quinten majored in television and radio (now television and digital media production) at the Roy H. Park School of Communications. “It felt so interactive and hands on,” explains Quinten. “That was something that really attracted me because I didn't want to be having my head down in books all the time.

”Through the Park School, Quinten gained direct experience working for ICTV as a producer, editor, colorist, and camera operator, among other roles. He also began helping other students as an orientation leader and coordinator. That’s when he began to wonder about full-time work in higher education. “Wanting to support students as a career path is something I definitely found out about myself,” says Quinten.

What motivates him the most is building strong relationships and fostering supportive communities that uplift others. “Everything I enjoy doing—and am passionate about—revolves around human connection,” explains Quinten, who sees sharing personal stories as a powerful tool for learning and growing with one another, including sharing his own journey.

“Everything I enjoy doing and am passionate about revolves around human connection.”

“IC is where I learned to love myself for who I really was. I was coming out as someone who identifies with the LGBTQ community, and that was a big part of that,” says Quinten.

A little over a year ago, Quinten began to perform in drag shows in the Ithaca and greater FingerLakes area. “It really accelerated my relationship with the queer community, which I'm really grateful for. And now I have some lifelong friends.”

Last summer, Quinten performed in a drag show at Cortland’s first pride festival. Before the show went on, the performers asked the audience if they’d ever been to a drag show. About 90% of the attendees said they had never seen one, which surprised Quinten. “We made sure to put on a show that would really set the record straight about what drag is, and that it’s not hurting anyone,” says Quinten.

Now that Quinten calls Ithaca home, he says he has a constant source of inspiration because of the area’s natural beauty, as well as the other thriving communities within the region. “There’s so many different interests and identities that I’ve interacted with here, from the creative arts to science and technology to animal research. I learn something new every day!”

Not surprisingly, Quinten’s recipe for personal success in every field and every life path comes down to authenticity: “Insert your personal passion into the work that you do. Don't try to fit in because then you’re just going to end up with work that you have to fit in with. Just by being yourself, you’re going to find work that complements you and people who celebrate you as a person."


A collection of introductions to the Ithaca College story—about those who continue to write it.
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