Thank you for visiting Dr. Robert Hernandez's webpage. Robert was raised in the Sunset Part area of Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in a single parent household. His mother grew up as a farmer in Puerto Rico, moved to NYC and became a factory worker. He was encouraged by his mother to get a college education. She believed a college degree would become his path to success. In 1992, Robert graduated from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY, with the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). He was offered and accepted a position with the US Navy. He has been employed with the US Navy since September of 1992.
It is with no surprise that growing up in a single parent household that was supported by a factory salary, made life tough. Robert remembers at least two times where his mother put up their house for sale when they were in financial distress. To make matters worse Robert was a chronic asthmatic. His mother was constantly taking him to doctors to try and help with his attacks. His mother worked multiple shifts and weekends to keep the family a float.
Although his mother encouraged him to get a good education because it would lead to success, he had a problem believing it was possible. He did not know anyone with a college degree and, hence, lacked the first hand experience of what a college degree can help achieve. His mother's encouragement was sufficient to overcome these doubts and he graduated 9th in his High School class. This helped him secure a merit based scholarship from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY in 1988. By his junior year, he still believed that he would not be hired upon graduation and started to take real estate courses as a backup plan. During the first semester of his senior year, the US Navy interviewed him. During December of 1991 he received a job offer from the US Navy, contingent on graduation, which he accepted. His mother was right, his hard work and dedication paid off and he became an Electronics Engineer in 1992.
Life After Brooklyn
Following his mother's example, Robert worked overtime and weekends to build a reputation for himself. He was always ready and willing to step up and take on any challenge. Once again, his dedication and hard work would pay off, and he was given his first Lead Engineer position after working only 3 years for the US Navy. It was a small program and team, but none the less, it was a lead position. He has held many positions since then such as: Lead Integration Engineer, Lead Test Engineer, Lead Design Engineer, Lead Systems Engineer, etc. He has received various awards and promotions, throughout his life. He ultimately received a "high grade" promotion to a GS15.
In 2008 he began a Masters program, while continuing to work for the US Navy. The US Navy funded his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE), which he received in 2010, and his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhDEE), which he received in 2014. He completed both degrees with a 4.0 GPA. He constantly speaks with students promoting the importance of a college degree in today's world. He likes to share his challenges and successes with students in hope that they will get college degrees of their own.
He has been recognized by Great Minds in STEM as a Role Model of the Week during the week of February 13 2006. Most recently he was selected, in 2015, by the Hispanic Society Of Professional Engineers (SHPE) for their Hispanic in Technology award. He feels blessed and wishes the same for everybody.
Life is tough for all of us. Regardless of what challenges we encounter in our lives, we cannot let them hold us back. Rob never thought he would be employed as an Engineer, much less a Lead Engineer. He never expected a "high grade" promotion to a GS15, that he would achieve a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, or that he would be selected for national awards. All this was possible because of his mother's encouragement to get a college education. Even though he had doubts his entire life, he still pushed on. His time, effort and hard work paid off. His message is "you can do the same." This message is not intended for just the low income, inner city children, but for all of us. Put your doubts aside, put in the time and the hard work. Push though all the challenges and don't let them hold you back. Seek to achieve your dreams and good things will happen.