On December 12, 2015, computer engineering student Angel Daruna completed the culminating achievement of his college career when he delivered the student address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. The honor of being chosen to represent the class of 2015 was the perfect capstone for the first-generation Cuban American who started his journey repairing computers at an Office Depot in South Florida during high school.
Daruna’s high school job revealed an aptitude for electronics, computers, and programming that led him to study engineering in college. After revealing to a customer that his program wasn’t challenging him, the customer suggested transferring to the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech, his engineering education expanded and his opportunities blossomed.
"Georgia Tech was the perfect institution for my junior and senior year of college because it helped me sharpen my engineering mind and broaden my perspective to a larger world with new opportunities," said Daruna.
Daruna embraced the challenge of studying at a top-tier institution. Due to family members who immigrated to the United States and the struggles they endured, he already had an innate sense of the hard work and sacrifice his education would require. When his family left Cuba in 1970, they lost everything and had to start a long process of rebuilding in the United States.
“I always knew how hard my grandfather, father, and mother worked since they came here, so I want to continue the progress and support them in their old age,” said Daruna.
With his bachelor’s degree under his belt, Daruna now plans to pursue graduate school with a focus on robotics and later teaching. While he waits for that to begin, he will spend quality time with his main source of inspiration—his family.
Photos: Angel Daruna giving his speech. | Angel Daruna and his family at the graduation ceremony.
Angel Daruna and family at the undergraduate graduation ceremony.
Ashlee GardnerOnline Communications Manager - School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Last revised May 15, 2020