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Aspiring Double Eagle continues winning awards with life-changing research

Victor Buitimea, a first-generation graduate and mechanical engineering alum of Georgia Southern University's Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing, reflects on his journey while excelling in graduate school, driven by his dedication to biomedical research and commitment to helping others succeed.
victor-buitimea-left-and-sevki-cesmeci-phd-right
Victor Buitimea (left) and Sevki Cesmeci, Ph.D. (right).

While working through his first semester of graduate school at Georgia Southern University, aspiring Double Eagle Victor Buitimea reflected on the work and dedication that got him to this point in accomplishing his dreams.

Buitimea is a first-generation graduate and 2023 alumnus who studied mechanical engineering in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing (AEPCEC). Now working toward his graduate degree under the same mentorship of Sevki Cesmeci, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the AEPCEC, he wrapped up his undergraduate journey by winning second place in an international research competition.

The 2023 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE) Undergraduate Research and Design Expo Student Poster Competition, hosted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), provides undergraduate mechanical engineering students with a professional and technical forum for presenting their research and interacting with fellow researchers.

Buitimea’s research, on which his mentor Cesmeci served as principal investigator, focused on a micropump system that delivers insulin to diabetic patients. This research is part of a larger project funded by Breakthrough T1D, formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which aims to develop an artificial pancreas system that could improve the quality of life for patients with Type 1 Diabetes.

“There were a lot of research projects that I could have participated in, but I was interested in the micropump system because of its biomedical implications,” Buitimea said. “The more I worked on this project and the more hands-on I got, the more interesting this project became.”

Being recognized for his work in the field came as a surprise to Buitimea.

“It’s amazing,” Buitimea said. “I never thought of myself as being one of the names that would end up there, but it’s all the hard work that our team and I put into this project. I’m just grateful to be in this position.”

Buitimea’s desire to help people was not limited to the research he participated in. He bolstered many of his skills through his work as a tutor with the Academic Success Center.

“I helped explain complex concepts to a lot of my classmates and they told me that I helped them so much that I should look into actually tutoring people,” Buitimea said. “When I transitioned to the Statesboro Campus from the Armstrong Campus, that’s exactly what I did.”

Buitimea’s drive to help others succeed came from his own struggles at the beginning of his college career. Following his freshman year, Buitimea lost his scholarship and was struggling academically.

“I had a rough start to college,” Buitimea said. “I wasn’t really adapting to it. Entering my sophomore year, I told myself that I needed to just start from scratch and bounce back. It was that mentality that changed things for me. Since then, I’ve been working on putting in the effort to be a better version of myself every single day.”

Through his struggles, Buitimea reached out to family and friends who provided role models that continued to push him through each new challenge he faced. Knowing the impact of that support, he wanted to become that help for others in similar situations.

“I was excited and nervous at the beginning,” Buitimea said. “I was so grateful for the opportunity and the mentorship that I received through working as a tutor, but I was more grateful to be able to help the students I worked with. I had to go through so much struggle on my own. I was grateful to be able to help these students be successful and to help them know that they aren’t alone.”

Buitimea is continuing to work toward his goals and win new awards as a graduate student. At the AEPCEC Student Research Symposium on April 19, Buitimea and his team won the Cardinal LG Award for Engineering Design. The research for which they won the award is a continuation of his prior work on the artificial pancreas system they hope will one day improve the lives of those living with Type 1 Diabetes around the world.

Cesmeci praised Buitimea’s commitment and drive over his time at Georgia Southern.

“I am immensely proud of Victor’s academic and professional growth since he began working with me in January of 2022,” Cesmeci said. “His dedication and hard work kept him pushing his limits throughout the years. These awards reflect on the quality of his research, his penchant for collaborative teamwork and his ambition to succeed in scholarly activities. I know these skills will continue to serve him and his community well into the future.”