GoHawkeye grant recipient Krista Ramirez-Villatoro

GoHawkeye grant recipient Krista Ramirez-Villatoro

December 15, 2022 Off By Hawkeye Johnson

Krista was awarded a $2,500 equipment grant for a custom wheelchair to pursue her travel and film making career. This lightweight wheelchair is designed for travel and it folds to fit in a plane overhead compartment. GoHawkeye caught up with Krista recently to find out how the chair is working out for her.

Krista writes …

Krista taking a break from training in Buenos Aries due to rain. Photo courtesy of Krista Ramirez

So much has changed since we last spoke. The pandemic really flipped my entire life around. I am currently in the first year of my masters degree in design and media arts at UCLA. Along with that I have been given the amazing opportunity to get their wheelchair tennis program off the ground. We have about 12 para athletes on the roster. I will be traveling to USTA collegiate nationals next month. The wheelchair you provided for me has been extremely instrumental in this process. This past school year I’ve traveled to Tuscaloosa AL, Orlando Fl and Baton Rouge LA. I’m getting to meet some of the top athletes in the world as well as create opportunity for the next generation of athletes after me. 

As far as school — I am in the process of developing multiple Virtual Reality(VR) projects and interactive games that feature disabled bodies like my own. Been doing lots of motion capture and 3D modeling for this piece as well as film.

Tennis has been great and school has been amazing.

Krista with Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina. The #1 ranked wheelchair tennis player in the world. Courtesy image.
Krista Ramirez’s RKG travel wheelchair made possible with a grant from GoHawkeye. Photo by Krista Ramirez-Villatoro.

I am one week away from my MFA art show. I will be showing some new interactive installations for the first time. I’m very excited about it. I will send more pictures once that is up. 

I’m taking a bit of a break for my health at the moment but I will send pictures from the season that wrapped up in the spring.

However, before my break I spent a month of my summer in Buenos Aires for tennis training. The routine was intense and everyday I was sore in new places. The physical and mental exhaustion took a toll on me but I truly believe I am a better tennis player because of this experience. Thanks to my folding RGK travel wheechair from GoHawkeye, I was able to be independent. Buenos Aries was not very accessible but the folding chair made it easy to load in and out of Ubers and fit through small doors. I am beyond thankful to the GoHawkeye Foundation for making experiences like this possible for me. I look forward to the new adventures this new school year will bring. 

Krista Ramirez-Villatoro