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Student Spotlight

Mario E. ConsuegraMario E. Consuegra

  • B.S. in Computer Science
  • Ph.D. in Computer Science Candidate
  • NSF Fellowship

Humble bumblebees inspire this Florida International Student to try, try again, because they do something that seems logically impossible. Why are they able to fly? Aerodynamically, bumble bees shouldn't fly, says current graduate student Mario Consuegra, but they do it anyway. He wants to follow their example of making what seems impossible, possible. His studies in the field of green technology are all about turning an impossible level of efficiency into reality.

Today it may seem that Consuegra has everything going for him, but his journey to this point, like the flight of the bumblebee, has not been a simple or straight line. Born in Cuba, he was separated from his father for several years due to political pressures, and they were reunited when Consuegra came to the U.S. at the age of 16.

Past the age when a new language is easy to acquire, Consuegra immersed himself in English while pursuing his interest in technology. He was accepted to FIU, where he earned a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2010, and he decided to continue his studies to the highest level by pursuing a doctorate in computer science.

To support his doctorate degree studies, he applied for a National Science Foundation fellowship with the support of his mentor, Giri Narasimham, the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Computing. When he did not win the fellowship, Consuegra listened to the advice of his mentor.

"Don't give up. Make sure to describe your research so that anybody can understand it and see its relevance. Make sure to highlight its broader impacts and its intellectual value," he says.

It was his last chance, due to eligibility restrictions, so Consuegra put his full effort into revising his application. Would this one fly? Yes, after a year of waiting for the second attempt, Consuegra won a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Recipients receive more than $120,000 of support over three years.

Be thankful that he won, because your future may be powered by Consuegra's research. Do you ever wish that your cell phone battery would last longer? In searching for solutions, Consuegra uses complex algorithms to find the highest level of efficiency to power computers, thereby saving energy and taking technology to the next level. The young Consuegra is leading his peers into this frontier of green computing.

Consuegra is grateful to his professors at FIU for enabling him to reach for solutions—and for the sky. He has earned it, too. With his track record of persisting in the face of hardship and failure, Consuegra should also pat himself on the back—just be careful not to crush those impossible wings.

 


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