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HSF Scholars

Rene Carballo

  • Gender: Male
  • Major: Engineering
  • University: Rice University
  • Hometown: Miami
  • State: Florida

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Rene has one sister. His mother is from Cuba, and she earned her master’s in Educational Technology from American College of Education. His father, who earned his master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Florida International University, is from Puerto Rico. Both of his parents are teachers.

He credits both his parents’ example of earning degrees after moving to the US, as the reason for his pursuit of higher education, and adds that his father was his role model for his current path toward the field of engineering. “As an engineer himself, he opened up my mind to the possibility that I could do the hard math and science needed for engineering, and it was a matter of applying myself,” he says. The confidence instilled by his parents, and the guidance they offered, led Rene to where he is today—a sophomore studying Engineering at Rice University.

Rene entered college feeling confident regarding his ability and ambitions, but he found that confidence shaken when it seemed that many of his new peers had concrete life goals, impressive experience, and a clear path to success. In attempting to distinguish himself amongst his peers, he found himself robbed of the enjoyment of his work. It took some time, but he ultimately recognized that he needed to simply be himself. He says, “I came to realize that I have my own ambitions and ways of approaching things, and those didn’t have to mirror someone else.” Once he was able to focus on what he truly wanted, he found he enjoyed what he was doing and made greater progress toward meeting his goals.

Outside of classes, research is a key interest for Rene. He is a member of Rice Eclipse, which he describes as “a student rocketry club focused on doing experimental research of technologies, such as hybrid engines, which could contribute to the aerospace industry.” Additionally, he is working with a professor on research in electrical engineering. On campus, he is also a member of HACER, (Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

In August, Rene was one of 118 Scholars invited to attend HSF’s annual National Leadership Conference (NLC). NLC provides an inside track to academic and professional excellence to top HSF Scholars, through a combination of mentoring, leadership development, professional insights, career guidance, and internship and job opportunities. He appreciates the opportunities, resources and connections NLC and his HSF Scholarship have provided. He sees HSF as a “network of like-minded, ambitious, and passionate people” who can work together and learn from each other.

After completing his degree in Engineering, his goal is to work as a project manager for an engineering team in the aerospace industry. He also has entrepreneurial ambitions and is interested in starting a business related to his own product idea, sometime in the future.

At some point during college, most people, Rene believes, will find their ideas challenged and abilities questioned. He says that although it can be disheartening, with time and careful thought, it is possible to emerge with confidence and optimistic plans for the future. “Also remember to enjoy yourself,” he advises, “not just with friends or at social events, but also the classes you’re taking and the activities you’re involved in.”