Growing up, Jethro Suarez was inspired by his parents to give back to those around him. Both his mother and father have served as nurses for years, and his father uses his engineering background to help others through medicine. “My love for both the engineering field and the medical field comes from them,” he says. “I have always admired their perseverance, drive, and positive outlook on life.”
Suarez began his college career at UCF in 2017. He knew he wanted to be an engineer, but he wanted to incorporate his interest in the medical field into his studies as well. He chose to pursue his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. In the program, he was able to learn about basic principles that would apply to all engineering fields. However, in 2020, he discovered the field of biomedical engineering and knew that he wanted to specialize in the discipline by pursuing a graduate degree.
Now, Suarez is graduating this December with his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, Biomechanics Track. He praises UCF and the College of Engineering and Computer Science for providing him with various amounts of resources that helped him work towards his dream career. “UCF provided multiple engineering-related computer programs to students at no cost, Teaching Assistants to help with learning coursework, networking events to connect with industry partners and other students within my field, and faculty members that would help guide students throughout their college careers,” he says.
In addition, Suarez says that the clubs and programs he is involved in have helped him during his time at the university. He describes his work with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), H2O UCF, eli2 (Engineering Leadership & Innovation Institute at UCF), UCF STEM Ambassadors, and the Graduate Student Advisory Council as highly beneficial to his academic journey.
Aside from being a full-time graduate student, Suarez makes time to participate in STEM outreach opportunities, whether it be for students K-12 or college students. He describes how being a member of the STEM Ambassador program has given him the opportunity to assist in judging middle and high school science fair projects, talk about the engineering field at career expos, and present engineering topics to students in classrooms. Along with the UCF STEM Ambassador program, he also dedicates his time to ensuring that UCF students have opportunities to be heard and engaged in the university community.
Suarez advises fellow students to always do what they love. “Many times, students become anxious and refrain from pursuing a certain career field due to the amount of time that comes with it (e.g., graduate school, medical school). However, time will always pass, no matter what you do. With this in mind, you might as well spend your time working towards your dream career and doing what you love,” he says.
Suarez’s goal is to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to further focus on biomechanical-related research after he graduates. In the future, he aspires to work in the research and development (R&D) field for robotics, whether it be for prosthetics or robotic exoskeletons. He also aims to be involved with academia and teach biomedical engineering topics to students of different ages.