Impact Award, Fall 2019
Cesar Tamayo was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. When he moved to the United States, he took a break from school to work on his English and adapt to his new life in America.
“When I started college, I was already 24 years old,” says Tamayo. “I felt the need to work harder than everyone else and learn as much as I could. I was aware that the knowledge from the classroom was not enough to become a great engineer, so I tried to explore and learn outside [of school] as well.”
Computer systems engineering best matched with Tamayo’s personal interests.
“I’m really passionate about both hardware and software, so I always knew that computer engineering would allow me to work on both – or at least find out if I love them as much as I thought – and I still do,” says Tamayo.
His first extracurricular activity was participating in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.
“This was my first real experience outside the classroom and it was an incredible learning experience,” he says. “Professor Heni Ben Amor was an amazing mentor and he allowed me to join his lab and work on really interesting research even though I had no previous experience in the field.”
Tamayo’s education outside the classroom continued in summer of 2018 when he was awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, known as NIST.
“I had no idea how important soft skills were in the engineering world,” says Tamayo. “I was focused on learning only the hard-skills. But after experiencing the industry, I realized that there are other equally important qualities that good managers look for.”
Those soft skills helped Tamayo land a position as a high-performance computing automation engineer at Intel.
“When I got that offer letter I knew that all the long nights and sacrifices were completely worth it,” says Tamayo. “Once I find my dream role, I will probably come back to school. But for now, my plan is to keep learning and to work on projects that have a real impact in our world.”