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Alumni: Where are they now?

Photo Coutesy Heribertrto Reynoso
Photo Coutesy Heribertrto Reynoso

Name: Heriberto Reynoso

Age: 28

Hometown: Brownsville

Degree: Bachelor of science in computer science

Graduation year: 2011 (UT Brownsville)

Current job: CEO and founder of Reybotics

How would you describe your college years? “I was doing internships and flying around the nation. I was bringing in scholarships and I was enjoying my education there. While I was there, I had projects on the side, so I was intertwining what I was learning into my projects at home. It wasn’t just about reading textbooks, it was about applying what I was learning to my projects.”

What were your favorite things to do while in college? “My brain was really starving for knowledge. The ability to just drop in on my professors, not just in my degree, but also from other departments and just pick their brain. I know some students will think that’s dumb, but for me, I was curious because at first, I was a mechanical engineer [major] and in physics as a freshman, and then after speaking to professors in different fields, I got a taste of each field and ultimately went for computer science. Students are so afraid to tap into the wealth of knowledge that is at their fingertips. Surrounding myself with these professors and their field got me to where I am today.”

What do you miss most about college? “Being able to mingle with high-intellect individuals.”

What motivated you to pursue your degree? “I didn’t know what degree to pursue because I was all over the place. I wasn’t just building the robot; I was wiring them up, but I wasn’t really programing as much as I wanted, so I was lacking in the programming department. So, that’s exactly why I chose computer science.”

Briefly describe what you do in your job? “Sole purpose is to engage youth in STEM-related activities, whether during the summer or throughout the year. Currently, we have an ongoing contract up with the Weslaco Independent School District to develop a pipe inspection robot for the City of Weslaco. The students will develop these robots from concept to actualization to find out where the problems are because they go through a lot of flooding year-round. This will be a way to pinpoint the problems instead of replacing things.”

What experience have you had that you would say is out of the ordinary? “Being able to work on the next mission to Mars. I took a job to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in north L.A. and for me, that was a dream come true. That’s something I have been wanting to do since I first went to NASA, but I took that job knowing it would lead me to the better job, which it did and I got the opportunity to work on an actual Mars Rover and do codes for a multimillion-dollar Mars Rover.”

What is the most memorable moment of your career? “When I was at NASA, I would sit at some random table and start conversations with these old, old, white-haired engineers that would work on the Apollo missions–they sent us to the moon–and then have them talk about their role in it. To me, that was just an eye opener.”

What motivates you? “I didn’t have a mentor or someone to push me. Some students don’t have a role model, so I try to be that role model for the thousands of students in the Valley who don’t have a parent, aunt or uncle who is an engineer or scientist. They see those fields, but they seem so far-fetched, like I used to see it back in 2003. I would tell myself, ‘Yeah right, I’ll never work at NASA.’ So, when I get up in the morning, as long as I inspire one person today, I’m happy.”

What’s next careerwise? “My goal is to one day develop systems that are just as smart as humans. We are lacking milestones in that department and that’s exactly why I chose computer science. It’s lacking in milestones and right now, I’m contributing milestones in this field.”

What advice do you have for anyone pursuing your degree? “They need to realize that there’s a lot of opportunities beyond the horizon that they might not be aware of. Simply by searching ‘scholarships for Hispanics’ on Google, you’re going to find a plethora of these opportunities. There is no excuse to not apply for scholarships. For you to grow as a professional, you have to get out of your shell.”

–Compiled by Brenda Garza

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