Success Stories - Meet Our Students

Willie Caraballo Afua Afo-Sante Charles Sosa Daniel Ho Oshane McCrea

Willie Caraballo Willie Caraballo
The STEM Institute 1999
The City College of New York – B.E. in Electrical Engineering 2004
Stony Brook Graduate School – M. Eng. In Electrical Engineering

Willie Caraballo participated in The STEM Institute for the first time in the summer of 1999. When asked about how the STEM Institute influenced him he claims “One of the main factors that helped me realizes my interest in engineering and science was the STEM Institute.  It’s because of this program that I got to know what engineering was about. Not only did I gain insight as to what engineering was all about, it also gave me the problem solving skills along with the motivation to do better for myself.”

Upon graduating from high school he enrolled at The City College of New York and to pursue an education as an Electrical Engineer. He also quickly became involved in doing research thanks to Mr. Marte who mentored him while he pursued his undergraduate study at GSOE.

Mr. Caraballo’s first research experience took place in summer of 2002 at Stony Brook University under the guidance of Professor Thomas Robertazzi. The research focused on determining whether a simple circulatory structure of probability flux, for a two class Markovian priority queuing system, existed. This kind of queuing system was of the non-product form solution type. Solutions to this type of queuing network are often tedious if not impossible to find. By means of generating a simulation program, using C++, he was able to prove Professor Robertazzi’s hypothesis on how the circulatory structure of probability flux, for a non-product form network Markov chain, may be decomposed into aggregation of simpler circulations. On March of 2003, a publication of the results was accepted in the Proceedings of the Conference on Information Sciences and Systems journal.

The following year (summer of 2003) he worked as an intern at JHU/APL in support of a NASA discovery mission called MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging). The mission’s purpose was to send a satellite out to space to investigate key scientific questions regarding Mercury’s characteristic and environment using flyby data during a yearlong orbit. The spacecraft was launched on August 3rd, 2004. During that internship at JHU/APL, Mr. Caraballo worked under the Integration and Testing (I&T) division of the space department at APL. He worked extensively in the development and refinement of procedures and tools used during the Messenger spacecraft’s integration and test phase of the development. With the use of software called EPOCH, I put forth a great effort in developing EDL (EPOCH Displayed Language) pages. The EDL pages allowed certain telemetry points from the satellite to be viewed. Numerous EDL pages were made, each focused on different subsystems of the satellite, such as the Main Processor (MP), the Fault Processor (FP), the Solar Array Drive (SAD), the Star Tracker (ST), and the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Mr. Caraballo also worked on creating STOL procedures, which allowed certain commands to be sent to the satellite directly. Apart from that, he was assigned to assist various scientists and engineers in multiple mini projects. These projects ranged from designing a weight balance bracket for the adapter on the spacecraft, using PRO/E and AutoCAD, to writing a “Safety & Fault Protection Requirements Specification” manual.

The following semester he got the opportunity to engage myself in research at the “Institute for Ultra fast Spectroscopy and Laser” (IUSL) at CCNY. The IUSL is a world-renowned multidisciplinary research laboratory devoted to promoting research and education in photonic and laser technologies for scientific, engineering, medical, and industrial applications. During his employment at that institute, he worked closely with Dr Wubao Wang on creating a novice optical device that detected frost formation on different surfaces using various polarization techniques of light. Mr. Caraballo was in charge of developing and setting up numerous experimental procedures that helped analyze the absorption and backscatter characteristic of light on frost and ice under different conditions. The research goal was to someday implement this optical device in aircraft vehicles to monitor and detect frost formation on the wings at certain altitudes, thus insuring safety.

Mr. Caraballo gained valuable research experience through these opportunities and remained in strong standing in his academics. He received his Bachelors in Engineering from City College in 2006 and his Master in Engineering in 2008 from Stony Brook. Both degrees were in Electrical Engineering. He currently works for GAL Manufacturing Inc. as a Software & Test Engineer.                                                                          top

Afua Afo-Sante Afua Afo-Sante
The STEM Institute 2003
The City College of New York
B.E. in Mechanical Engineering 2011
Masters Program in Energy and Sustainability

Afua Safo-Asante is a mechanical engineering graduate of The City College of New York and proud STEM Alumnus. In her sophomore year of high school, she participated in the STEM Institute to take college level courses in Advanced Algebra, and Physics, and returned the next year to take full advantage of the courses offered and completed Calculus and Physics II.

It was her experience with the STEM Institute that convinced her to attend The City College of New York upon graduating from High School. She was accepted into the Honors Program at City College and was determined to participate in research during her undergraduate years. She claims the STEM Institute introduced her to the importance of student research and the research opportunities available at City College. She began conducting research in her sophomore year. Her research consisted of studying and testing vibrations in model systems with one, two and continuous degree of freedom under the guidance of Prof. Benjamin Liaw. Through this opportunity she familiarized herself with the research process. She learned to identify and develop her topic, find background information, learn from texts and other media (periodicals, Internet), experiment, evaluate results and how to properly cite work. She believes the experience was valuable and can be directly applied to her work, and several industries including the automotive, air plane and construction industries, which use similar methods of testing for mechanical failures.

During her senior year Ms. Safo-Asante interned for the CCNY Solar Decathlon 2011. An integral part of this internship requires students to research, design, build and operate a solar powered house.She was a part of the mechanical engineering group responsible for designing sustainable heating systems for the house. Ms. Safo-Asante plans to spend the next couple of years learning, interning, researching and specializing in the field. After obtaining her degree in Mechanical Engineering, she enrolled in the Masters Degree in Energy and Sustainability and PhD at City College.   top

Charles Sosa Charles Sosa
The STEM Institute 2004
The City College of New York
B.E. in Mechanical Engineering 2011
Minor: Mathematics

Charles Stephen Sosa graduated from The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York in the fall of 2011 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a minor in Mathematics, a concentration in Nuclear Engineering. Mr. Sosa has achieved significant academic success in his studies, as well as in his research with Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at City College and former NASA-GSFC/GISS scientist, Dr. William B. Rossow, over the past four academic years.  Despite tremendous physical adversity with a debilitating nervous system disorder and rheumatological conditions, Charles has maintained strong academic performance and has been recognized on the Dean’s List.

During his high school education, Mr. Sosa participated in the STEM Institute at City College, where math and physics professors sympathetic to his physical conditions, saw his potential, and enabled him to realize his capabilities in mathematics and physics. The STEM Institute was a major turning point for him as it made the possibility for him to pursue undergraduate studies in engineering, a reality. The STEM Institute offered a rigorous and challenging college-level experience that prepared him for the difficulties of the math and physics courses at City College.  Following his completion of the STEM Institute, opportunities started to emerge for him in the form of NASA internships. 

Mr. Sosa also pursued a three-year research project involving the Thermal Protection System of the Space Shuttle, where he received guidance and mentorship from Dr. Yiannis Andreopoulos, a faculty professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at City College.  His interest in scientific research was furthered when he participated for five summers under the NASA New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI) internship program, directed by Dr. Frank Scalzo, to work with Drs. Leonard M. Druyan and Matthew Fulakeza at The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  There he engaged in research involving remote sensing and regional climate modeling of African Wave Disturbances.  His contributions to the research played an important role in a 2006 Cloud Dynamics journal publication entitled, “Mesoscale analyses of West African summer climate: focus on wave disturbances,” where he was gracefully recognized in the acknowledgements.  Charles’s research in the area of Remote Sensing and climate studies continues with Dr. Rossow, where he serves as a research assistant and IDL/MATLAB programmer under the NOAA CREST scholarship program. 

Mr. Sosa is an example of someone who demonstrates that it is possible to succeed through adversity with determination. He is a role model for all incoming student at the STEM Institute and the City College of New York. top

Daniel Ho Daniel Ho
The STEM Institute 2006
John Hopkins University, 2011
B.S. in Materials Engineering 

Oshane McCrea Oshane McCrea
The STEM Institute 2008
Vanderbilt University, 2012
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Minor: Economics

Both STEM Institute alumni interned at the MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment), a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center at Princeton University. Their research focused on characterizing semiconductor nanostructures and materials at the Molecular Bean Epitaxy Laboratory of the City College of New York. Mr. Ho and Mr. McCrea were responsible for applying a technique of Contactless Electro-reflectance to their research and analyzing results.  top