Impact Award, Spring 2022
Christian Polo’s discovery of engineering being “applied creativity” as much as applied science motivated his substantial effort and achievement during his four years as a student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.
Polo also sustained his commitment to anything he started. As an example, he began solar energy research with a Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative project during his sophomore year. That work continued with an ASU/NASA Space Grant during his junior year, and then became his thesis for Barrett, The Honors College. Now, it’s culminating with a presentation at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Photovoltaic Specialists Conference this summer.
The same spirit of continuity defined Polo’s work as a community assistant at three different residence halls, as well as his devotion to keeping the Sun Devil Motorsports – Formula Electric racing team active throughout the pandemic and on track for success in the future.
When reflecting on these and other organizations to which he offered multiple years of involvement, Polo says he is most proud of his time with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, or SHPE de ASU.
“My leadership experience there was framed by the need to maintain a sense of community during the tricky virtual environment of the 2020–2021 academic year,” he says. “So, my solution was to create a podcast devoted to keeping our members connected with the organization. The SHPE de ASU Show covered culture, health and more with amazing guests, such as Dean Kyle Squires,and the CEO of SHPE National, Raquel Tamez. Making that show happen is probably my proudest achievement.”
Polo says he is grateful to many people with whom he worked as a Fulton Schools student, but he offers his deepest thanks to Professor Meng Tao for substantial mentorship. He credits Tao with sharing important insights on research techniques and methodologies, as well as help in developing technical presentation and communication skills.
“His guidance has shaped me into an active researcher who asks important questions and knows where to start looking for answers,” Polo says. “I now feel confident in sharing my own ideas during research discussions, and just a lot more prepared for the engineering world.”
After graduation, Polo is pursuing graduate studies in electrical engineering, specializing in electronic and mixed-signal circuit design, through the Fulton Schools’ 4+1 accelerated master’s degree program. But he says his longer-term aspirations are still forming.
“I like going with the flow and letting life take me somewhere new, so it might be a little unpredictable,” he says. “At the same time, I know that I want to maintain my sense of curiosity, my open-mindedness and my desire for excellence or going above and beyond.”