Student Profile: Combining Curiosity with a Desire to Help

Published in MIT News on April 20, 2016 by Catherine Curro Caruso

Senior Juan Jaramillo harnesses his natural curiosity to help others, while never forgetting his roots.

When Juan Jaramillo was young, he would ask his father endless questions about the world around him, particularly during the 12-hour road trips his family made between Mexico and Texas.

“I'd ask him so many questions and he had an answer for literally everything,” Jaramillo says.

Jaramillo, a chemical engineering major, has learned a great deal since then, but during his time at MIT, he has never lost the intense curiosity he had as a child. Whether he is conducting chemistry research or running Camp Kesem, an overnight camp for children whose parents have been affected by cancer, Jaramillo is always eager to learn more and to use his knowledge to help others.

Strong family ties

Jaramillo grew up in a small town in Mexico, and he was first exposed to science by his father, a chemistry and physics teacher. His father was working two jobs at the time, yet always made time to bring experiments home from his physics class.

“He'd grade his papers until really late at night,” Jaramillo recalls. “But he still had that inquisitiveness in him, and that was really positive in my development...”