A Day in the Life of Manuel Ferix: A Watson Mechanical Engineer

Posted by Sophomore and Intern at Binghamton's Media and PR Office Patricia Nieberg on April 11, 2016

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Braving the hardships of school, work, research and more, Manuel does it all with a smile and laughter that makes it all seem so easy. Since moving to the United States when he was 10 years old, Manuel has worked around the clock. Turning down Columbia University, he’s at Binghamton pursuing engineering. Manuel knows hard work and dedication, but that's only the beginning.

Hometown: East Hampton, N.Y.

Home at Binghamton: Off campus (Chapen St., Downtown Binghamton)

Major: Mechanical engineering

Year: Senior

Clubs/orgs involvement:

  • President for SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)  
  • Started SHPE Junior in Binghamton
  • NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group)
  • Circle K International 
  • NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers)
  • Intramural Soccer
  • Bringing his fraternity, Gamma Omega Delta, to campus
  • Research with Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Changhong Ke on nano-material science

A little about Manuel

“I’m a weird guy and I just go with the flow. I graduated high school from East Hampton. I’m also from Colombia; I came here when I was 10. I grew up out there in the Hamptons, but just because you grow up in the Hamptons doesn’t mean you’re actually rich at all. Usually the people who live there are really humble or really nice. You live off of the rich people that come for the summer and spend a lot of money on simple things, which is awesome for us. Through hard work, I’ve been able to make around $10,000 in one summer.”

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What’s your busiest day like?

8 a.m. - Wake up and go to the machine shop to work on my senior design project

10:05-11:30 a.m. - Taekwondo class

11:40 a.m.-1:05 p.m. - Linear Algebra class

1:15-3:50 p.m. - Operations Research class

4-5 p.m. - Insanity workout

5-7:30 p.m. - Break for food/study

7:30-8:30 p.m. - SHPE meeting

8:30-9:30 p.m. - Leading a recycle system team project

9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Study

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I never have free time. Honestly, if it’s a nice day, I like to be outside. Anything sports-related, I like -- soccer, anything related to being outside, or even going to the Nature Preserve. I used to longboard a lot around campus.”

Why did you pick engineering?
“I was in Queens College for two years, and I was supposed to transfer to Columbia University and then do a B.S. in mechanical. I noticed that the program was really annoying; you needed a 3 and above in every class that was related to anything math/science/engineering to be able to stay in the program. Which was fine; I was doing that. But I didn’t want to have to stress out about grade stuff. I wanted to transfer to a school and just finish straight up four years of engineering, or whatever’s left of it. I applied to a bunch of schools. I got into every one, but I chose Binghamton. There's something about Binghamton.”

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Why mechanical?
“I like the idea of the actual hardware. I’ve never been a person who works with tools or makes stuff, but I always wanted to be, so I thought mechanical (engineering) could be a push towards that. In reality, it was between electrical and mechanical, and I thought I would fit more in the mechanical aspect. And it’s so broad. Mechanical can be figuring out the vibrations of this [table] to keep it still, to actually building this, or putting it together, or to just designing it on the computer."

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What’s something you’ve done at Binghamton that you’re proud of?

“Definitely right now, SHPE junior. Second most, if I fully get the frat recognized.”

What is one specific goal or dream you have for after you graduate?

“Honestly, just to be happy. But that’s not hard, because I’m always happy. Just be happy with what I’m doing. I like helping people, so as long as I’m doing that and I graduate, I’ll be happy. So that would be my goal.”

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What's something unique about you?
“I’m really weird; people know that. I guess one specific quality is that nobody ever knows what I’ve gone through. If I’m having a bad day or something, nobody can tell because of the way I am; I’m always very uplifting, always thinking positive and staying positive. Nobody’s perfect. You definitely go through a lot of rough times, but what I try to show people -- even through the toughest obstacles -- is that you can have a positive face and influence others to have a positive face. Having a negative attitude is not going to help you.”

What was the hardest part about coming to the U.S.?
“Definitely just language at first. It only took me a year to learn English, and by the next year I was in honors English. I think that’s why I actually got really good at math. Because coming from Colombia I was okay, but here I really explored math because it was the only way to communicate. Half the time I would be in ESL; whenever I wasn’t I wouldn’t understand anything, so I would just sit there. But when it was math, that was the only time where pretty much I was teaching people.”

Manuel is still weighing his options. With a positive mindset and confidence, however, he knows everything will work out. His motto is, “I go with the flow."

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A big congratulations to Manuel and his fiancé, Kaila, who got married over spring break. We wish you two all the best!

Want to learn more about the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science? Check out our video!

Patricia Nieberg is a sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y., majoring in English rhetoric with a minor in Spanish. She is part of the Binghamton University Dance Team, Wish-makers club, and Binghamton Sound Stage and Lighting (BSSL) this semester. She's looking to pursue a career in comunications and PR. 

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? E-mail us at social@binghamton.edu.