Jacob Gonzalez

Major/Year: Computer Engineering
Hometown: Lake Station, Indiana & Orlando, Florida

Coming to college was no small feat for Jacob; especially when the first 17 years of his life were filled with so much change. After his parents divorced, Jacob moved to Florida with his mother and younger sister. His living situation included living in a one bedroom apartment with his mother and sister to living with relatives to living with family friends. Jacob reflects on how it was difficult to get school work done sometimes because there were times when there was no electricity or gas or the Internet. Despite the many obstacles he faced, juggling school, band, and work, Jacob was able to graduate high school with a 3.9 GPA.

Jacob is extremely grateful for the many opportunities he was given growing up. He was able to attend a private school from grade 4 through 10th grade on a scholarship.  Although it was a tough decision, he decided to finish high school in the Dual Enrollment program at Valencia College which was only offered at a public school. The Dual Enrollment program helped prepare Jacob for the academic rigor of college.

Jacob is proud to be at the University of Florida and of his first generation identity. “I’m proud because I know I’m setting the precedence for my future children and their children.”  He is even more proud to be a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar. He expresses his thanks for the donors who have made it possible for him to attend a university. The scholarship has given him the opportunity to be a focused student and get involved with on-campus activities including Gator Robotics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME). In addition to adjusting to college life, Jacob has spent his first semester working with a design team to improve the school’s robotic mascot. He has also worked on bicycle designs for an engineering competition. Jacob’s talents were proven when he invented a speedometer tachometer that would be better for collecting data than the outdated one that was being used. His design uses Bluetooth technology to transfer data to a cellular phone. His talents have not gone unnoticed as he recently received the ASME Clark Scholarship for the work he is doing. Jacob’s future aspirations are to make technologies to give people a better quality of life. Inspired by the recently developed self-driving car, Jacob wants to continue the development of these vehicles to make driving more efficient and safe.

Closing remark: “MFOS and University of Florida is my opportunity to push myself to accomplish great things, and provide a better life for myself and my family.”