Jorge Armando Quintero is a driven young man set on achieving his dreams. Jorge graduated as salutatorian of his class in 2013 from Carver High School. It is here that he found the path to his future.
While attending Carver High School, Jorge took every opportunity to help prepare him for college. He took part in the magnet campus’ engineering strand. Carver made U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best High Schools in the U.S. Rankings.
Jorge is currently attending Rice University where he is majoring in electrical engineering. He will graduate with the Class of 2017. He serves as president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at Rice. Through his work in SHPE he hopes to focus on college freshman and high school students interested in engineering. In October 2014, he accepted an internship with Texas Instruments. He will be an analog design engineer for the company. His internship begins June 1, 2015.
Currently he is working with Dr. Aydin Babakhani in the Electrical Engineering Department. They are researching silicon-based mm-Wave and THz transceivers. Jorge volunteered to take part in Babakhani’s research.
“This is extracurricular work,” Jorge said. “I find this research to be fascinating. It could lead to faster, more reliable communication all over the world and possibly deep space. It may even create advances in medical imaging and treatment. The research has exposed me to the frontiers of electrical engineering. And it reinforces the importance of pursuing a higher education.
“I encourage students to take part in research. It instills in students the passion to learn and improve the world that we all live in.”
As busy as he is, Jorge finds time to pay it forward. He returned to Aldine ISD to take part in Eisenhower High School’s Grads Give Back event in January. He has a connection to the campus. Since Carver didn’t offer sports, Jorge took part in Eisenhower’s swim team. He also had friends that attended the campus. One reached out to him to see if he would help with the Grads Give Back event. He represented Rice University and answered student questions about college.
He also finds time to explore his Latino roots. He forms part of the Mariachi Luna Llena at Rice University. Undergraduates, graduate students and a university staff member comprise the band. Jorge plays guitar. Local TV media and newspapers have featured Mariachi Luna Llena. The group formed in 2013. It didn’t take long for the group to earn recognition. Six months after it formed, the band won first place at Rice University’s International Fest. The group represented the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment (HACER) at Rice.
“As a Mexican-American student, I find it rewarding to learn about my heritage,” Jorge said. “This has helped me better form my identity as a minority. I find this important so I can reach out to other minority students. Forming your own identity is key to happiness and success.”
This determined young man started from humble beginnings. Jorge faced many challenges growing up. Due to circumstances out of his control, his family endured financial hardships. At one point his mom took on three jobs to support the family. Jorge nearly dropped out of high school to help her.
“I remember I would leave home as soon as I got back from school,” Jorge said. “I worked a side job full-time outside of school. I would get home about 10 or 11 p.m. Then I would start to work on my homework assignments for the next day.”
Thanks to his mom, Jorge didn’t drop out of school. She stressed the importance to do well in school. It is his parents’ experiences that drive him to succeed.
Money is still a problem for the family. His dad works as a maintenance man and his mom cleans houses.
“We remain strong and hopeful,” Jorge said. “Where we lack in riches we are wealthy in determination, support and love. This along with an emphasis on education have been the true reasons for our successes as a family.”
All the work and dedication paid off for Jorge who earned a scholarship to attend Rice University. And he has been enjoying the experience ever since.
“I love Rice University!” Jorge exclaimed. “My experiences at Rice have been invaluable, and I feel that I grow every day as a person. Before I came to Rice, I felt intimidated. I felt intimidated by the idea of the type of people that I would be studying with. But I came to terms with one simple fact: University leaders would not have accepted unless they believed I could succeed. There is a culture of support and care at Rice that brings out the best in us.”
Jorge mentioned there are plenty of extracurricular activities to fulfill students’ passions and interests. He also lauds the academics and opportunities at Rice.
“I go to class every day learning about interesting things,” Jorge said. “I am always engaged, challenged and stimulated by classes I am taking. I am happy here. I have been able to form meaningful relationships with my professors. They are always available to answer questions about homework or concepts. They have also helped me find opportunities that truly interest me such as research and internships. And they provide advice about what life is like after college.”
“My experiences in Aldine really helped me grow and prepare for college,” Jorge said. “There were teachers who weren’t afraid to challenge their students. And although I didn’t appreciate it then, I am grateful they did. I feel that my experiences in Aldine were completely unique. I don’t think I would have had the same experience in another school district. In Aldine, I had teachers that were there to help me through tough times. And I had teachers that demonstrated their passion for teaching every day. Those teachers inspired me.”
One of those teachers was Ghebremedhin Abraham. Mr. Abraham recently retired from AISD. Jorge thanks Mr. Abraham for helping him find his passion. Originally, Jorge entered Carver High School to focus in the architectural engineering program. That is until he took Mr. Abraham’s digital electronics class.
“Mr. Abraham knew before I even knew it,” Jorge said. “He knew I was passionate about electrical engineering. He convinced me to switch to the electronics strand that Carver offered and the rest is history.”
Jorge recounted a memory about Mr. Abraham.
“He always challenged me to learn and learn and learn,” Jorge said. “One year, he challenged me to build a circuit that could count to 100. I came back at the end of the year with one that could count to 1,000. I actually rigged it so it would count slowly and even nearly made him sit through it all just to make him laugh. He responded, ‘I’ll retire before this counts to 1,000!’
“If it were not for Mr. Abraham, I would possibly still be wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I still keep in touch with him. And he still continues to push me to do better.”
Things have a way of coming back around. Rice University offered Jorge a teaching position in his major. He is going to teach an electronics class beginning in the Fall 2015 at Rice. Jorge is excited to share his passion for electrical engineering with students.
“I want to do for others what Mr. Abraham at Carver High school did for me,” Jorge said. “I want students at Rice to learn more about the field of electrical engineering. I will show them how awesome and interesting it is.”
When asked what advice he would give to current AISD students, he stressed to never lose sight of their goals.
“They should enjoy their time growing up,” Jorge said. “But they should never lose sight of what their ultimate goals are. If there is something that makes them passionate, they should pursue it because all good things will follow. And they shouldn’t be afraid of a challenge because a stronger person will always emerge at the other side.”
And just where does Jorge see himself in the future?
“I see myself working as an electrical engineer,” Jorge said. ” I will likely specialize in integrated circuit design or communication systems. But, my biggest goal is to open a school that encourages students to pursue careers in STEM. I want my school to offer resources to stimulate students at an early age.
“Between those two goals I see myself teaching at some point. Just as teachers helped me find myself, I hope to inspire the next generation to do what they love most.”
Jorge’s parents and Mr. Abraham must be proud. Everyone at Aldine ISD is definitely proud.
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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