Here's a little summary about myself:
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but since I was about a few months old, I have lived most of my life on the small (but tallawah!) twin island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. (If you're interested, there's a map on the side so you see where it is!)
Here I completed my primary and secondary school education. I attended the St. Theresa's Convent High School (colloquially called the "Convent School"), a private school that is affiliated with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. However, a few years after I graduated from high school, it was renamed to the Immaculate Conception Catholic School (or ICCS). From there, I attended our local community college, the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), where I obtained my Associate's Degree. The coursework I have done is equivalent to British GCSE A-levels.
After CFBC, I went to the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), where I obtained my Bachelor's in Computer Science; from there, I went to the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, to obtain my doctorate.
Okay.. so where are you really from?
Short answer: I'm of mixed race and I'm Caribbean.
Long answer: Although I was born in Venezuela, I am a Kittitian at heart. Sometimes I visit my maternal family in Venezuela for holidays, but I have never lived there for an extended period of time since I was a young child (hence why my Spanish is not very good looking in my opinion). My maternal family originated from Madeira and relocated to Venezuela. Through her I have many relatives in Madeira, Portugal, and Spain. My paternal family has Caribbean, West African, and Anglo-European roots. My closest relatives from this side are mostly living in St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla, and St. Lucia.
Eventually, I want to research practical solutions to challenging, everyday problems that we face in the Caribbean and Americas and to promote the use of technology (particularly AI and computing).
What are my interests?
I have always had an interest in the way technology works, and I have a natural aptitude to mathematics and science.
It started from my fascinations of how airplanes work to the idea of how handheld electronics worked, and then it evolved to other ideas such as how our bodies and habitats worked. It was always a challenge for me to decide on a single interest or path for the remainder of my life, and I still do not think that I have adopted that ideology. I can be pretty neutral about things, yet it is not always a problem!
However, later in high school, what mainly caught my interest was computers!
I quickly developed a fascination for computing since my days at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in St. Kitts, mainly from the excitement I got from understanding computer logic and how programs are built and work. It was then that I decided to pursue computer science. However, it was when I attended the University of the Virgin Islands where I realized that computer science is a very broad field!
With my "indecisiveness", it made matters worse for me because there came new areas that I wanted to explore! However, thanks to my REU experiences at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) as well as my course projects, I narrowed down my interests to a prospective set of candidates to study in graduate school; in my head were algorithms (because I enjoyed that class), robotics (because a trip to Carnegie Mellon I made back in 2013 sold this area to me), network security, and artificial intelligence. I will always remember my advisors Dr. Marc Boumedine and Dr. Wayne Archibald, who pushed me to pursue my doctorate.
I ended up at the University of South Florida, where I dove into the world of robotics: a field that I had no prior knowledge about! Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a research assistant at the Robot Perception and Action Lab (RPAL) working with Dr. Yu Sun. There is still so much I do not know, but I enjoy the work I have been doing. Now, as a postdoctoral researcher in the Human-centered Assistive Robotics group at the Technical University of Munich, I am developing more skills (and racking up extra paper - not the monetary kind!) so I can gain more confidence to lead my own research group one day.
I hope that with my research in robotics, I can make a meaningful contribution to society and inspire others to pursue research.