Francesco Sessa

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Physics

College/School: School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

It’s a Friday afternoon and Francesco Sessa is barefoot. He’s covered in what looks like white paint. It is actually cornstarch – the primary ingredient in a slurry that is solid enough to walk across or liquid enough to trap spring break campers, depending on how quickly they move across the surface.

Despite the messiness, he is excited for the opportunity to make children curious about physics, the way YouTube videos once inspired his own curiosity.

Growing up, Francesco wondered if he would ever get the chance to study physics, much less inspire other children. A first-generation college student, he arrived in the United States at age 2. His mother worked multiple low-paying jobs and always took him with her. She taught him the value of working hard, saving and doing well in school.

Francesco followed his mother’s example. He worked two jobs – to pay for college and support himself and his mother. He studied harder. With plenty of AP credits, he earned an associate degree from Broward College in one semester. He transferred to FIU to study physics. When it proved difficult, he joined forces with other physics students to succeed. With classmate Cynthia Nuñez and others, Francesco co-founded the student organization Advancement for Women in STEM. He and Cynthia fell in love. They married.

After commencement, Francesco and Cynthia will pursue Ph.D.’s in physics. His goal – become a professor like Robert Laird, Pete Markowitz, Caroline Simpson and other physics department mentors who helped him along the way.

By Chrystian Tejedor
Account Manager, College of Arts, Sciences & Education