IMPACT Award, Fall 2018
Attending Arizona State University was never a question for Francisco Brown-Muñoz. When he received the Sonoran Academic Excellence Scholarship from the Arizona Board of Regents and the Arizona-México Commission, he chose to attend the Arizona university with the best-ranked engineering school.
With interests and influences in civil engineering, materials science and chemical engineering, it did, however, take him a lot of thought to pin down a major. He eventually settled on chemical engineering to focus on his interests in electrochemistry, transport phenomena and environmental biotechnology.
He wasted no time getting involved in student organizations including the ASU chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
“I wanted to meet other fellow Latinx engineers since I had just moved to the United States for college, so I joined SHPE,” says Brown-Muñoz, who graduated from Barrett, The Honors College in spring 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
Brown-Muñoz served on SHPE’s executive board as outreach director, academic director and graduate ambassador for four years.
“My biggest achievement was to empower the Latinx community by hosting engineering challenges and bilingual parent workshops to help K-12 students pursue a degree in STEM, by leading panels to encourage our SHPE de ASU members to pursue graduate education and by mentoring others about college, grad school and professional development,” he says.
Beyond SHPE, Brown-Muñoz was active in Tau Beta Pi, the Society of Water and Environmental Leaders, Latinos in Science and Engineering and the Barrett Mentoring Program.
Brown-Muñoz has also been involved in research at the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology where Associate Professor César Torres, his thesis director and research mentor, has been a major influence on his academic success.
“He is very patient and takes the time to explain complex and abstract concepts,” Brown-Muñoz says. “He has been key for me to pursue my interest on environmental engineering, particularly on microbial fuel cells.”
Outside of school, Brown-Muñoz volunteers at Lost Our Home Pet Rescue.
“I help with developmental enrichment, care and other tasks at their cat shelters,” Brown-Muñoz says. “Mostly petting cats. I love it.”
Brown-Muñoz is keeping his options open for the future, including considering a faculty position at a university in his hometown. He knows whichever path he chooses, he wants to make a positive impact and advance the field of chemical engineering, all while providing the best life for his pets and family.