Image of Augusto González Bonorino

Augusto González Bonorino

Image of Augusto González Bonorino

Augusto González Bonorino

Tucumán, Argentina

Academic School

Computer Science and Math, Management


New York

Augusto is a Dual Major Data Science & Analytics and Economics with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics.

When I was nine years old, I got the opportunity of visiting the United States for the first time ever. My dad received an invitation to teach as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University, NY, for one full year. My mom and I joined him during the last six months. I had the opportunity of attending elementary school for three months during my time there. Before that, I did not like English, I refused to learn it, never even considered the idea of visiting other countries. That trip changed my life. I fell in love with the United States. With English. With the diversity it represents and its people’s mindset. I fell in love with traveling and learning new things. Now that I think back, it impacted me way more than I thought at first. After those six months in Syracuse, all I could think of was when were we going to get the chance to go back. I think that, unconsciously, I had already decided at a young age that I was going to go back by myself at some point in my life.

At 15 I was starting to play competitive tennis in my country, Argentina, which gave me the opportunity of traveling all around the country and to other countries in some situations. Nevertheless, I never imagined how far away tennis could take me. At about the same age I started to get really interested in Economics and everything that was related to it. Argentina is often studied in the fields of Economics as an outlier. Economists cannot understand how a country so rich in natural resources, and many other things are constantly suffering from corruption and socio-economic crisis. This was always a point of conversation between my parents at the dinner table. I was very curious about it. I wanted to be able to understand what was going on and be able to contribute to those conversations. So, at 15 I had already decided I was going to focus my studies on the field of Economics.

Although the main interest never changed the reasons why I decided to follow that path did. At first, I was driven by this idea of understanding how money works to make money. But, as I grew older and became more and more acquainted with the things going on around the world, I started shifting my goal to help others, to truly make an impact in today’s society, both socially and environmentally speaking. Since then, my goal has remained the same, every decision I take goes under a process of opportunity cost evaluation of how much positive impact will I be able to do, or not.

When I turned 17, I truly started thinking about performing my undergraduate studies in the United States. I prepared for the SAT while still in my Senior year of high school and playing tennis to improve my rankings so I could get a tennis scholarship. It was an incredibly intense year. I had to teach myself all the SAT topics from scratch because our high school education was so far behind. This was the first time I sensed the true level of Argentina’s educational system, it really worried me. All the efforts paid off because a year later when I was recruited by the College of Charleston, SC, to play tennis for them and was invited to be part of their Honors program as well. I spent a year at The College of Charleston before I transferred to Marist. Yet, that year was magical. I am not going to go into detail about all the things I learned but if I have to highlight one thing it would be that I got introduced to the field of data science (of which I have never heard before). That summer after my freshman year I created a non-profit in my hometown, called EmprenderTucuman, which was meant to empower the youth and encourage them to embrace their dreams and their entrepreneurial spirit. It was a very fulfilling experience to be able to help dozens of young adults, ages 16 to 29, to start building the path to achieve their dreams.

By the end of my freshman year, due to high inflation in Argentina and our currency’s devaluation, my family and I were struggling financially. I had to start considering transferring. It was a tough situation, after all that first year there had a huge positive impact on my life, and having to give up all of that because of lack of money was heartbreaking. This is when I had my second “realization.” The first one was when I decided to do something to improve Argentina’s education. The second one when I decided that no one should have to experience something like that, so I am determined to do something about it. Education and Financial freedom were my main motivations for creating EmprenderTucuman. During that year’s spring break, we played against Marist College. As soon as I started looking into other schools I was contacted by Marist and got an offer. I accepted and joined the Red Foxes for Fall 2019.

I came to Marist excited for the life in New York. Excited about being close to the Big Apple, where all the cool things happened. I always wanted to be part of that, I believe that there is no better place to be if you really want to make an impact. All of a sudden, I went from the smallest city in Argentina, Tucuman, to the most important city in the world. The whole situation was mind-blowing to me. I was extremely grateful for all the opportunities I had received and extremely proud of being able to take advantage of them. But the journey is just about to start. I had found a great interest in Data Science so during my sophomore year I decided to add it as my second minor, my first being environmental science. I heard that there was a professor from Argentina in the School of Computer Science and Math, Eitel Lauria, and I decided to go and meet him. People say that you can find an Argentinian anywhere in the world, I was starting to think that it might be true. It went great, he invited me to take his class, Data Mining and Predictive Analytics. I loved the course, not only for the content but because it gave me the chance of getting more acquainted with professor Lauria. I took him as my mentor and since then he has had an immense impact on my experience at Marist. He has given me advice on academics and life, which has helped me achieve things I thought I would never be able to. After several phone calls with him, I felt that my passion for technology and math was greater than what I first thought. So, I decided to “upgrade” my data science minor, and major in it as well. Also, I added minors in computer science and mathematics. I genuinely think that the potential impact of data science, combined with economics, in education and financial freedom in emerging and developing countries is truly immense. And I have to say, what an incredibly interesting year to decide to focus on such discipline. With the impact of COVID-19 on everyone’s life, and how it accelerated the implementation of new technologies in today’s societies, data science techniques are becoming almost essential. During the summer I was given the chance to implement what I had learned so far when I got hired by my hometown´s university civil engineering department to perform some basic data science tasks on their student´s data to help them improve their academic curriculum. I was able to guide the school officials on the right path to help students make the most out of their time in college. I helped recognized students at risk, and to start a tutoring service to help them succeed in school.

Finally, I was planning on going abroad this Fall 2020. I was accepted at the University of St Andrews to study abroad for a semester. I was very excited, but I guess nature had other plans for me. Due to the pandemic, all the programs were canceled. It was a bit disappointing at first. I remember calling professor Lauria to tell him about it, he had helped throughout the application. A week later he texted me with an opportunity to work for the Marist Data Science department as a lead AI student scientist. I like to think that everything happens for a reason. It is worth saying that unless my trip abroad was not canceled, I would have never gotten this offer. I took it without a doubt. Now, I am working side by side with professor Eitel Lauria and Edward Presutti on developing an AI-powered chatbot with state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing (NLP) skills which will ultimately be incorporated.

Marist has given me so much, way more than would have expected. I am extremely grateful for all the relationships I made and all the opportunities I was able to take advantage of. With two full years left and the mind-blowing speed in which all I just shared happened, I am extremely confident that Marist College will be of great help to achieve my dreams. After school I plan on applying for a PhD in Economics at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and start building more connections worldwide so I can, one day, give back to my community and deeply focus on having a positive impact on those in need. Especially in education and financial freedom in developing and emerging countries like Argentina. My dream would be to build a school, completely free, that focuses on teaching an innovative curriculum and focuses on the student’s passions, instead of just being a place where parent´s drop their kids, with a hybrid format of online and in-person so those who are unable to get to the school can enjoy of the same academic benefits from wherever they might be. Still an idea in development though. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall