First-generation student dedicated to community impact


Portrait image of Margarito Hernandez Fuentes

Margarito Hernandez Fuentes

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Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Margarito Hernandez Fuentes is fascinated by biomedical engineering because it’s virtually everywhere — from the patient monitors used at hospitals to the contact lenses worn by countless people every day.

He also appreciates the research opportunities that framed his experience as a student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Those included a project he conducted as part of the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, exploring malignant pleural mesothelioma with Assistant Professor Christopher Plaisier.

Hernandez Fuentes additionally highlights a summer project with the National Institutes of Health focused on population health disparities, during which he learned about the frequency and value of unexpected outcomes.

“You learn about multiple failed experiments and realize that being a scientist is not always about winning,” he says. “It’s also about learning how to accept failures and then grow through them.”

Hernandez Fuentes says he is grateful for the mentorship and friendship of Laura Grosso, a program manager for ASU’s Biodesign Institute and his supervisor as a student worker.

“Through her guidance, I learned how to believe in my abilities,” he says. “She allowed me to manage a scholarship program and more than 20 volunteers for one of our events. As a result, I significantly improved my leadership skills.”

Hernandez Fuentes says it is important for first-generation college students like him to have support from someone who enables them to make an impact in their educational community, and he feels Grosso has been that person during his time at ASU.

With that confidence, Hernandez Fuentes served as vice president of ASU’s Biomedical Engineering Society, co-chair of the student board for the biomedical engineering program and treasurer of the university’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. In addition, he became the lead recruitment assistant for the engineering outreach department during his final year.

Following graduation, Hernandez Fuentes plans to pursue graduate studies with the goal of becoming a physician-scientist who both treats patients and conducts research in a hospital setting.

“I really want to provide life-saving medical solutions for patients facing aggressive health issues through regenerative medicine and tissue engineering,” he says.

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2022 class here.

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