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Pablo Hernandez

’17

Computer Science

Apr 2017
My parents are Cuban, and I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. My dad was a truck driver and my mom runs an immigration office. I started my path to engineering in seventh grade when I joined the high school math club.

In high school I competed in math competitions on the weekends. This eventually sparked my interest in programming. When I came to Stanford, it was clear to me from the start that I was going to study computer science.

In Cuban cultures families are very close. When I arrived as a freshman, I struggled because I missed this community. SOLE (Society of Latino Engineers) helped me to re-create this community and to find support as I began to pursue a computer science degree. Our four main pillars are academics, professional development, familia and outreach. When it comes to academics, we host weekly group study nights. For professional development, we provide support for students pursuing different professional opportunities from research positions to internships, and we also offer resume help. In terms of familia, we organize a lot of social activities. And for outreach, we have a group that mentors local middle school students every Saturday.

This year, we were approached by a group called 10x10KCuba, which highlights the 10 most promising startups in Cuba. The School of Engineering helped us bring members of these startups to Stanford so we could hear more about their work. It was eye-opening. When I lived in Miami, I undervalued my Cuban roots. But now that I’m here, I realize the potential I have to give back to this community. Hopefully next spring some engineering students will go to Cuba and learn about challenges startups face there. Internet connectivity is pretty limited, so it’s interesting to think about how the startup scene is growing given those constraints.

I’m excited for the future and getting to use computer science to positively impact those around me.”

Amanda Law

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