You've completed a lot of research
and other projects at UNF. What is it about this school that you thinks gives
you this opportunity?
I see UNF as a hybrid between a large
and small college. It has a lot of the resources that larger schools have, but
smaller class sizes. What does that really mean to me? That means we get so
much more experience and learn so much more! Yeah, a big school has a big name,
but I personally know that the projects are not as challenging/beneficial. For
example - I'm in senior design right now; this is a huge project that requires
a full year to finish (and this is still just in the undergrad). Our projects
at UNF are so much more impressive and provide a much better learning
experience than those at other schools. Some schools are so large that the teachers don't have time
to properly look at the same quality projects - therefore they reduce the
quality of the projects.
What advice would you give to
prospective students about getting involved in research?
Getting involved in research has endless
benefits, even if you think you are not yet capable of contributing much. I
started doing research my first semester, but because I had limited knowledge
of programming and from the core classes, I did more watching. However, being
there opened my eyes to what I would be learning. Plus, I became good friends
with the professors, and trust me, that will always help in the end! Again, at
a larger school, you are most likely not going to be doing any research until
What's your favorite aspect of being
a student at UNF?
The focus is on the student. UNF does do
research, but we are more concerned about helping the students learn, and
professors are always available to help. My professors know me personally, they
joke with me, and when they want someone on their project, they seek me out.
That personal attention has helped me reach my full potential.
What has your "personal
journey" become while attending UNF (personal and academic)? How has UNF
The past four years have pushed me past
what I thought my limits were. My personal journey is just one of growing - I
look back at where I was when I started and laugh. I was so dumb. I knew
nothing about anything. All I had were the fundamentals: math, science,
english, and a good work ethic. Using those tools, I dove into the engineering
curriculum, and now I have the mindset of an engineer. It's a story of
transformation - I went from someone who felt they could only hope for
mediocrity to knowing I can accomplish anything. Thanks to being so close with
my professors, my mentor Dr. Jerry Merckel helped me get an internship at Texas
Instruments. I tried my best... and I still felt like I was drowning. Luckily,
when they throw you in the deep end of the pool, you start learning how to swim
fast (as long as you don't give up). What's interesting is the stuff I was
working on at my internship is closely related to what I'm doing now for my
senior design project (except this time I'm doing the more difficult problems
instead of having my tech lead at TI help me). Even though they thought I did a
good job, I still wish I could do that internship again with the knowledge I
have now - I would have knocked their socks off! But I'm happy that I can look
back at what I thought was impossible and now say it would be easy - it means
I'm learning. Then this past summer, I was able to get an internship at IBM in
New York. I feel I did a good job there too, writing complicated automation
School doesn't teach you everything, but
what it taught me is the most important thing - hard work and research will
get the job done. So anyone can give me any problem, and given the time, I will
have it solved.