Working towards a sustainable future
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Student: Francisco Negrón Avilés

Name: Negrón Avilés, Francisco A.

Hometown: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Institution: University of Puerto Rico

Campus: Mayaguez Campus

Rank: B.S.

Major: Chemical Engineering

Expected date of graduation: May 2016

Degree: B.S. in Chemical Engineering

USDA Agency of interest: USDA-ARS Peoria, Illinois



Career experience/location:

Worked in a research internship at the USDA-FS Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin under the supervision of Dr. Richard Bergman.


Description of career experience (what I learned):

We were able to make a life cycle assessment of two short-span secondary road wood and steel bridges and analyze the environmental impacts of both structures; we

concluded that using organic salt treated wood bridge would have less environmental impact than creosote treated wood bridge. The same environmental impact was acess

for the lightweight steel bridge compared to a homogenous steel bridge.


What is your perception of agriculture now:

We need to maximize the usage of the lands for agriculture because human beings are multiplying and the lands are decreasing. It is very important to optimize food

production since it is necessary for future generations.


How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities:

In the USDA internship I learned how to use life cycle assessment software for the analysis of the environmental impact of materials. I also learned different laboratory skills

and techniques that can open doors in ARS research laboratories.


Career and research aspirations:

In 5 years I aspire to finish my B.S. in chemical engineering and to enter in a Master degree program in Material Sciences and Engineering and apply this knowledge to

agriculture. In 10 years I would like to finish a Ph.D. program and find a job related to agriculture and nanotechnology at the USDA- ARS Peoria, Illinois, USDA-NIFA,

USDA-FS. I also want to be a group leader in the USDA and be mentor of students.


Skill Set:

–Computer skills Microsoft Office 2010 –Excellent Spanish and English, Basic French –Laboratory General and Specialized Instruments HPLC, AAS, Raman, Muffle Furnace,

Laboratory Microwave, pH meter –Leadership and teamwork skills.


The impact of my career experience:

The research experiences at USDA-FS and CETARS has given me the necessary skills to become a competent scientist in the near future. In USDA-FS I worked with recent life

cycle assessment softwares for the analysis of different materials that compose wood and steel bridges. I also learned how to use these softwares . This experience has

allowed me to meet and work with professionals and scientist at this institution, and helped me in the research I was working at my institution. It also has allowed me the

opportunity to show them that I am a highly motivated and competent person. CETARS gave me the tools for being a professional by supporting me and allowed me to teach

public schools k-12 students from the importance of agriculture, and also for giving me research experience to grow as a professional scientist. These experiences will

prepare me to compete in the job market especially at USDA. My long term goals are to find a research position in the area of nanotechnology in an agency, and be a group

leader in at USDA.

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