First-generation student dedicated to community impact


April 25, 2022

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. Portrait image of Margarito Hernandez Fuentes Margarito Hernandez Fuentes Download Full Image

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.

Gary Werner

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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Graduating ASU Online student makes the most of her time at ASU


April 25, 2022

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

Arizona State University’s partnership with the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) for the Opening Learning Scholars Program made it possible for Rehab Meckawy and hundreds of other students from the MENA regionRefers to a grouping of countries situated in and around the Middle East and North Africa. to receive a graduate education. 

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Meckawy, who is graduating from ASU Online with a Master of International Health Management, sings high praises of the scholarship program.

“I owe all my success to the AGFE scholarship. At a time when I doubted my potential, AGFE believed in me and fully sponsored my degree,” Meckawy said.

Of course her success also came from her determination and commitment to her university experience, both in and out of the classroom. 

In addition to her studies, Meckawy co-founded the Egyptian Sun Devils club, which is currently 270 members strong. She also co-founded the Sun Devils Global Friends Club, an online organization that works to build bonds between domestic and international students and increase cultural competence. Her list of accomplishments also includes serving as the graduate senate leader and chair of the Government Operations Committee for the Online Student Government Advocacy Group.

This spring, Meckawy was recognized as the winner of the Outstanding Graduate Student Leader at the tenth annual Pitchfork awards, a ceremony that recognizes Sun Devils who demonstrate leadership and a commitment to serving the Sun Devil community. 

“My journey at ASU would not have been fulfilled without engaging in student organizations and leaving an impact on fellow online peers,” she said.

Graduating this spring, Meckawy plans to continue impacting those around her. Read about her journey at ASU below. 

Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of as an ASU Online student?

Answer: I am thrilled to share that I was selected as one of two student facilitators at a recent virtual town hall with ASU’s President Michael Crow. Also included on the panel were Phil Regier, dean and chief executive officer for EdPlus at ASU, Leah Lommel, associate vice president and chief operations officer at EdPlus at ASU, and Nancy Gonzales, university provost. It was a great honor to represent ASU Online students and AGFE.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: It’s hard to pick just one. ASU has been a life changing experience for me because I discovered my own potential. I learned I needed to get out of my comfort zone because that’s where learning opportunities exist.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I can't express how grateful I’ll always be for Dr. Jack Gilbert’s support while I worked as a TA in his class. As a person aspiring to a career in academia, Professor Gilbert has shaped the teaching pedagogy that I’d like to adopt. I learned how an instructor can maintain a compassionate attitude, and also ensure that students achieve learning outcomes.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: I would say to keep reaching for your dreams and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Specifically to AGFE scholars, I would say to do your best and work hard at full gear. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will seek opportunities to work in the health managerial private sector at the national level. I am passionate about leveraging my leadership, organizational and teamwork skills to help boost preventive medicine in both developed and underprivileged communities. I will advocate for competent health care systems that offer high-quality services. 

I also want to pursue a career in academia. It’s important to me to positively influence younger generations to overcome doubts about achieving a career in the health field. It’ll mean so much to support others in growing their professional self-efficacy.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: With $40 million I would address the issue of migrants and displaced populations. My focus would be on reducing health inequality and the discrepancy of care accessibility due to racial inequalities.

Written Lexy Fairfield, marketing content specialist, EdPlus at Arizona State University