This past summer, Garcia got the opportunity of a lifetime. He always dreamed of going to MIT so when a friend told him about a summer internship program, he applied. Out of 600 students who applied, 36 were accepted. Garcia was among them.
He spent 10 weeks at MIT, but not as a computer scientist. Instead, he was placed in mechanical engineering, where he worked in the Heat Transfer Department researching omniphobic surfaces, which describes materials that are able to repel most substances, from water and oil to other solvents. Again, Garcia had to rise to the occasion, taking online courses at MIT and reading everything he could about materials science and dynamics of fluids since it was not his subject area. In the end, the research was presented at a materials science conference, and the group he worked with is trying to publish a paper on their findings.
“Manny is an extraordinary student, an example to all of us,” said Jerry Miller, associate director, robotics & wireless research, and adjunct faculty in the School for Computing & Information Sciences. “When I first met Manny here at the Discovery Lab, he was racing in between classes, doing as much research work in a short amount of time as possible, and then heading out the door each night to get to his job in order to support his family.”