MELBOURNE, FLA.—Gilbert Castillo, a Florida Institute of Technology senior, was recently featured as the “Scholar of the Week” on the Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) website. As part of the honor, he will present himself as a student role model to elementary, junior and high school students through the organization’s outreach programs.
Castillo, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, is interested in pursuing research and development in the pharmaceuticals field and plans to enter a doctoral degree program in chemical engineering. He currently works in the Florida Tech Department of Chemistry under the guidance of Associate Professor Mark Novak, where he is studying the fluorescent analogs of tryptanthrin, which is potentially therapeutic for the treatment and prevention of parasitic diseases.
Last year, Castillo was named a scholarship recipient by the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC)-Shaw Industries Group. This award is given to those who are academically and professionally successful in a STEM-related area. He is also a NASA MUST (Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology Project) scholar, which earned him a three-year scholarship. He was one of 21 students nationwide to be selected to participate in the MIT ACCESS Symposium last fall; this program is sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company and the MIT chemical engineering department.
Besides having significant research experience and scholarships under his belt, Castillo is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Phi Eta Sigma national honor society, and was president of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Affiliates. He is the current president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) student chapter.
Encouraged by his math and science teachers, Castillo entered the engineering field. As a role model and mentor, he is dedicated and committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists, and providing assistance to students in math and science.
“I am very proud to have been selected as scholar of the week and I hope that I can be a role model to younger students, so that they can pursue a degree in the STEM disciplines,” he said.
A gateway for Hispanics who are in STEM-related fields, the Great Minds in STEM is a nonprofit organization that focuses on spreading awareness about available educational programs for underrepresented and underserved students. It is also centered on acknowledging and recruiting Hispanics who are in STEM.