Adonis Garcia

Global Challenge: Data Science/AI/Robotics

With my computer science degree, I plan to take the route of machine learning and artificial intelligence, not because it sounds cool, but because I truly believe that it can have significant impacts on improving vital aspects of the world such as the quality of education, especially in countries like the Dominican Republic.

An Interview with  My Brother's Keeper @ Tandon

What inspired you to pursue a STEM-based degree? How did you discover your interest in the field?

My inspiration for pursuing a STEM-based degree comes from the fact that the possibilities with such a degree are endless. A STEM degree doesn’t confine me to the specific field that I focus on during my undergraduate career but instead opens up a door to a multitude of potential paths for my future. Since I was a kid, I have always loved and been a massive fan of puzzles, so when I realized that studying computer science was just like solving puzzles with the additional potential to make a difference, my passion for the field was born.


Who within STEM serves as an inspiration for you?

A few of the individuals in STEM that serve as an inspiration for me include Edrizio De La Cruz, Elon Musk, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.


How would you describe your experiences as a Black and/or Latino student at the School of Engineering?

I would describe my experiences as difficult and rigorous, but also very motivating. I certainly am a minority here surrounded by intelligent students which sometimes makes me question and fear my ability to keep up. However, I let that serve as motivation so that I can push past my limits and achieve anything I set my mind to.


What courses were challenging for you? How did those courses better prepare you for what’s ahead?

Expository Writing and Intro to Engineering were challenging classes for me during my first semester. Both classes forced me to go outside my comfort zone and approach learning in ways that I haven’t really experienced before. They revealed to me that going the extra mile does make a difference and that struggling is part of the journey to success.


What are your research/professional career goals?

Through my undergraduate career, I plan to learn the fundamental skills necessary so that when I graduate, I will be able to work in the field of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. I aspire to develop technology that will help bridge the education gap worldwide.


As an underrepresented minority student, is there something that you recognize more now that you didn’t think of before attending Tandon?

I now recognize the importance of a strong community, especially for minority students in the STEM field. A strong community holds you accountable but also serves as inspiration and support. When we work together, we make sure that everyone succeeds.


How important is it for incoming minority students to utilize their resources (i.e. professors, counselors, advisors, tutors, etc.)?

At such a rigorous and demanding school, making sure to effectively utilize your resources is probably the most important skill that you can have. The STEM field is not easy and there will be moments when you struggle, but knowing that you have somewhere or someone to turn to in those times is extremely important. I advise that you take full advantage of any resources that you can find on campus as they are only there to support you on your academic journey.


What advice would you offer to Black and Latino men who are interested in the STEM field?

First, make sure to set goals for yourself, so that you always have something to work towards and the motivation to continue. Second, don’t compare yourself to others; instead, compare yourself to your past self and always strive to be better. Third, embrace the struggle as it is fundamental to your success, and always believe in yourself, no matter what.