My name is Bryan Medina, currently a senior here at UCF, studying Computer Science and Mathematics. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and I graduated from Hialeah Gardens High School in 2016.
Throughout my childhood, I developed a deep appreciation for music and a fascination for the brain. I noticed that music has incorporated itself into our daily lives; it can remind us of car rides with life long friends, celebrations of new life, and losses of loved ones; it has the power to drastically change the course of our days. This art form is the essential glue that binds our cultures and our societies together; we have been creating it for more than 50,000 years, we have shown signs of deep engagement with it since we were young, and some of us pay large sums of money for it. Despite these relationships, why this art has this profound effect on us is a mystery. Researchers have worked tirelessly to understand what brain regions are responsible for this affinity and how they interact with one another. Much progress has been made to understand what makes our brains tick, but we are still far from discovering the nature of the neural computations that underlie our perception.
I believe that the power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence could help uncover some of the mysteries of the brain! Artificial Intelligence is not a Terminator that is ready to destroy the world; Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can help us better understand any and all information that the brain can give us, and has the power to reveal deep insights that we may not be able to find otherwise. The Machine Learning course here at UCF has definitely opened my eyes to the capabilities of powerful algorithms.
Although it did take a while, I eventually discovered that solving this problem was something I wanted to commit myself to for the rest of my life. But how does a boy from a low-socioeconomic background encounter such a field? Unfortunately, I did not have the resources growing up to pursue STEM-related activities nor did I know of them; my interests really started to mold as my time at UCF began. As a STEM Ambassador, I hope to bring STEM careers into the realm of possibilities of all youth. I hope to inspire those that have never imagined a career in STEM to one day be part of a cohert of the world’s future innovators. I hope to one day show a child that their ideas and beliefs are worth something in this world, and they can bring their dreams into a reality with STEM. A large part of my journey was made alone, but it does not have to be that way; I aim to give everyone an opportunity to have their interests flourish and lead them towards a career that they love and are passionate about. Diversity in STEM leads to diversity in thought; everyone’s ideas can help shed light into solving our world’s biggest problems!
If I could provide one piece of advice to anyone, it’d be to never give up on something that you love! If you truly love something, if you are truly passionate about something, why let it go? Not giving up and persevering will not only help you grow as a person and student, but it’ll help you become the better person that you aim to be. As said by Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, “ …[M]ost people … don’t even know that they were months away…, or [even] three years away and they give up. [They’ll] just never know what could have been… and I can’t do that to myself.” Don’t be like most people; push through! You won’t regret it.
Other things I love to do are cooking with my friends, listening to and sharing music with anybody, and riding bike!