Dylan Barrera

 Dylan Rodriguez Barrera

Taft 7-12 High School senior Dylan Rodriguez Barrera was accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and will be attending the university in the fall. Rodriguez Barrera was matched to MIT through QuestBridge National College Match, a national program that connect high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds with full four-year scholarships to top colleges.

Rodriguez Barrera became interested in MIT when he received an application from QuestBridge.

“I thought of it as the best school for STEM,” Rodriguez Barrera said. “I thought basically everything about it was cool – computer science, artificial intelligence, and I hadn’t really looked at engineering, but I thought it was a good place to start learning about engineering.”

The high school does not have engineering classes, Rodriguez Barrera added. He likes computer science and started coding and liked how algorithms worked. Math is his favorite subject in school. He studied AP Calculus DC by himself last March through June.

“My hobby is game development,” Rodriguez Barrera said. “That’s the biggest thing I code with.”

Rodriguez Barrera also likes music production, 3D modeling and other art. He is also on the school’s swim team, the Lincoln City Swim Club, and is in the school’s jazz and symphonic band. He also tries to volunteer weekly at Driftwood Public Library.

“I also spend time with my little brother,” Rodriguez Barrera said.

His brother has autism. He works with him on math, English and Spanish. The family only speaks Spanish in their home.

Rodriguez Barrera said it was surreal getting into MIT, especially living in a small town.

“You never hear about people going to big colleges,” Rodriguez Barrera said. “It was really exciting. I couldn’t believe it for a few days.”

Rodriguez Barrera said his family is really excited for him to attend MIT.

“It was my first-choice school,” Rodriguez Barrera said. “My mom really wanted me to go there.”

Rodriguez Barrera will start MIT in August. He will be visiting the campus in April for Campus Preview Weekend, his first time seeing the university.

Rodriguez Barrera said he is interested in studying computer science, but it also considering electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and possibly math. He is drawn to a career as a software engineer but will explore options while in college.

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