Harold Martin

Harold Martin is currently a graduate student pursuing a PhD Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Florida International University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The oldest of three children of a family of Cuban immigrants he is the first of his immediate and extended family to pursue graduate studies. He started showing interest in the field of engineering from a very early age; learning Pascal at the age of 10 and fixing TV remotes for his neighbors. He emigrated to the US, along with his family, at the age of 15, having to start his eleventh grade in a new country with a different language and environment.

Despite the inconveniences, Harold graduated in the top 15% of his high school class and was awarded the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. While pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering at Florida International University he acquired his first lab experience working as the Undergraduate Project Manager at FIU’s Mechatronics Lab. While at that position he used his experience with microcontrollers and electronic circuits to coach undergraduate students with their senior design projects. The experience acquired at the mechatronics lab helped him to secure a research assistant position at FIU’s Energy Systems Research Lab where he conducted research on distributed and multi-agent systems for the control of the power grid.

Thanks to his academic success and independent projects, he was able to do two back-to-back internships as a “Systems Integration Intern” at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. There, he had the pleasure of working alongside great hardworking and passionate engineers, most of whom had been flight controllers during the Space Shuttle Era, who made him feel as if he was a full time NASA employee. During his internships he worked on process flow diagrams (PFDs) for the integration effort between Boeing’s CST-100 project and NASA’s Flight Operations Directorate, developed software tools for telemetry, simulated crew displays, trajectory tools, subsystem analysis, data loads, mediated meetings, and many other highly educating experiences.

During his last tour he ended up also working for NASA’s Engineering Directorate, particularly the Valkery project, where he worked on embedded platforms and communications.

His time at NASA helped him realize that he wanted to pursue a higher education as there are still many unanswered questions that need to be solved mostly through research. It helped him decide that school was the way to go and realize that he wanted to obtain a PhD degree in areas related to machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision.

Serving as mentor-grad for the CAHSI Alliance and having participated in the CAHSI summits, he has appreciated even more the pursuit of graduate studies and learned how to improve my prospects in obtained a graduate fellowship in pursuit of my Ph.D studies. Under the supervision of Dr. Adjouadi, a founding member of the CAHSI alliance, he has applied last year for the NSF-GRFP fellowship program, and was a recipient of this prestigious fellowship which will start officially this fall of 2016. As a research assistant with the Center for Advanced Technology and Education here at FIU, he will be conducting research to design a self-contained, portable, and user friendly reader for the visually impaired. A prospect that is appealing to him as he believes that all his drive in acquiring knowledge should be put to test to help others. What better way in seeking this goal than to design an assistive technology tool that carries with it great societal impact and one that equalizes opportunity for education and seeks universal access for persons with visual disability.