How are you connected to the Office of Hispanic Initiatives (OHI)?
When I first came to graduate school, I was the fortunate recipient of a Goizueta Fellowship. This fellowship gave me the opportunity to become involved with many programs that originate from OHI. I have been part of information panels for new students, attended seminars from prominent Hispanic speakers, and presented my research all through programs initiated by OHI.
One of my favorite events of the year is the annual Latino College and STEM Fair, offered by CEISMC's GoSTEM Program. I love interacting with the students who want to learn about interesting science and about all of the opportunities available to them in higher education.
What advice would you give to students on succeeding academically at Georgia Tech?
First and foremost, the key to success is hard work. You cannot come to a university, especially one as rigorous as Georgia Tech, and expect to succeed without sacrifice. Being in college is such a special time in one’s life because you are surrounded by intelligent people and boundless opportunities to gain knowledge. I strongly suggest for students to take advantage of these opportunities: join an academic club, take a graduate class, attend department seminars, etc. There will be moments when things get tough, however, so it is necessary to have a strong supporting cast to help you along the way. Take the time to make connections with your fellow students, faculty members, and even staff that can mentor and advise you in such circumstances.
What advice would you give to students on acclimating socially to Georgia Tech?
Sometimes students become so focused on their academic work that they neglect the social aspects of their time in college. One has to remember that being successful in one’s career is not everything, and that devoting time to family and friends is essential to a healthy life. While in graduate school, I find it useful to sign up for scheduled events that force me to get out of lab. For example, I have been taking a salsa dancing class every week. Find an activity you are passionate about, or try something outside your comfort zone, and join a group that meets regularly around this activity. This is a great way to meet new people, enhance some skills, and have fun along the way.
Where have you worked while at Georgia Tech, and what did you enjoy about that experience?
As a graduate student, I have been mainly focused on establishing my research in the scalable thermal energy engineering lab (STEEL) with Dr. Yee. I enjoy the exciting work I am involved with on a daily basis related to an electrochemical energy conversion technology that uses sodium as the working fluid. I am motivated by working on the forefront of science and by all the knowledge I have gained so far. I always recommend for undergraduates to spend at least one semester doing research to see if attending graduate school might be an option for them. Once I have progressed further in my research, I will consider interning in a national lab or in a collaborator’s facility to gain new technical skills and learn different research methods.
What has been your favorite Georgia Tech experience?
I didn’t know before coming to Georgia Tech that the city of Atlanta had such an active film industry. During spring 2015, they shot a scene from the movie “The Accountant” in the building where I work. What made this experience so memorable was that they actually allowed the graduate students to be extras in the movie scene. I was able to see all of the preparation leading up to filming this scene, and I got to interact with the main actors after the filming was complete. Unfortunately, I could only see the top of my head when the movie came out in October 2016, but nevertheless, it has been my favorite experience in Georgia Tech.
What are you involved with on campus, and why?
I am not as active with campus activities as I used to be when I was an undergraduate. Aside from research and mentoring undergraduates, I find time to volunteer with several outreach events through the OHI. I am also involved with the Focus Program, which is a graduate student recruitment event that is mainly tailored towards minority students. Otherwise, this semester I am serving as treasurer for the Georgia Tech Energy Club. I am passionate about energy-related topics, and this club exposes me to many aspects of this broad field and allows me to interact with bright and equally passionate students on pertinent energy topics.
What has been your study abroad experience while at Georgia Tech?
I have not been able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities in Georgia Tech. When I am closer to finishing my Ph.D., I might consider going to Georgia Tech Lorraine for a semester to teach heat transfer or fluid mechanics in their mechanical engineering department. It would be a great opportunity for me to gain valuable teaching experience while being immersed in a foreign culture.