Francisco Xavier Pena

Francisco Pena photo

Francisco Xavier Pena '15

Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Born and raised only a ten-minute drive from the Mexican border, I came from a family of modest expectations.

My parents immigrated to Texas to raise a family where they knew their children would have a better future. My two older sisters went to a local university so it was expected that my twin and I go there too, but somehow, out of nowhere, I rocketed off to MIT. Most of the time I can't really talk to either of my parents about college life since they didn't experience it. Not that many people want to talk about inflationary cosmology anyway but the idea of a fraternity was very new to them. I talk to my sisters about it, though, and we're still very close. From my culture I've brought my love of cumbia and am trying to integrate it into the MIT Casino Rueda club. I will be the first in my family to go to graduate school, becoming a research professor in theoretical physics. I feel that there are a lot of people in life that lead us in the right direction besides our parents, which is why I am in two mentoring programs: I volunteer at a tutoring program for disadvantaged high school students (Upward Bound) and I serve on the board for a summer enrichment program for underserved middle school students (Innoworks).