"It’s a challenging subject to be able to understand, but that challenge is what entices me to continue to want to know more."
Omar Ramos, a biochemical engineering major from Athens, says he was drawn to studying engineering because he's always been interested in understanding the fundamentals of how things work and how engineers can apply that understanding to advance society. He's particularly interested in using his knowledge and skills to help protect and strengthen the environment. In addition to his classwork, Ramos helps conduct research in UGA's New Material Institute where a team is exploring new applications for algae.
Cedar Shoals High School
What is your favorite thing about being a student at UGA?
Just the fact that I can say that I go to UGA. With how acclaimed UGA is and how I’ve grown up with pride in the school, it feels empowering to say that I am a student of the school.
Why did you choose engineering?
Being able to understand the fundamentals of why things work and how we can further apply our level of understanding is something I’ve always been fond of. It’s a challenging subject to be able to understand, but that challenge is what entices me to continue to want to know more.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced while at UGA, and how did you overcome it?
Definitely has been the pandemic, as I had two younger brothers that had to move to remote learning as well. It was hard to be able to handle my own coursework while also ensuring they were learning their material as well. Over time I was able to handle it a lot better due to being able to better manage my time more efficiently and was able to end the semester on a strong note.
What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference for you?
The amount of energy consumed by the world to make fertilizer. It never really set in how important the discovery of the process to create it was until I realized how significant it still is to this day. It helps remind me how one thing can really impact an entire world.
What/Who has helped you become a successful student here at UGA?
The main people that have always helped me are my friends and family. I’ve befriended some of the best people I’ve met since I came to this school and they always helped me a ton with understanding the material and just being amazing friends. My family have always supported me every year of my life and I’m forever grateful for their kindness.
Omar Ramos conducts research in the UGA College of Engineering's New Material Institute.
What type of undergraduate research do you work on?
I work in a lab that looks into how algae can be used to help make some processes more environmentally friendly. For now I mainly work on ensuring that the algae is actually growing in our medium and to keep expanding on the amount we can collect at a given time. Algae is the future!
Why did you choose this area of research?
It piqued my interest with the environmental impact this process could potentially have. The state of the environment has always worried me, so being able to attribute something that can potentially help with the environment really spoke to me. Even if the impact turns out to be insignificant, doing something is a lot better than doing nothing.
What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
Snelling will always hold a special place for me full of good memories of me and my friends. The midnight breakfast was always a go to choice after a night of studying.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
La Parrilla has always been a favorite even as a kid. The food there is just so good and supported more by the amazing desserts and staff.
Favorite class at UGA?
Thermodynamics with Dr. Saleh will go down as one of my favorites. Dr. Saleh presented the material so clearly and you can really feel the passion he has for the subject. Being in that class really helped me understand the material pretty well and it’s a class I’d take again!
Best memory at UGA so far?
Being able to participate in Day As A Dawg as a mentor. I participated in that event as a mentee in 8th grade, so to be able to be on the other side after all these years is pretty cool!
What advice do you have for younger students who wish to pursue engineering?
The best thing to do is to befriend fellow engineers. There are countless moments where I had complex problems explained to me by other engineers that really helped me get a grasp on the material we were studying. Other engineers also know how stressful things can get and are easy to talk to if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
How do you hope to impact society with your engineering degree?
I hope to help improve the state of the environment. It’s something that has worried me for years and I just want to help anyway I can. It may take years of hard work to be able to achieve anything beneficial for the environment, but I’m more than willing to endure those years.