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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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National Entrepreneur, internationally recognized

Photo by Provided

Electrical engineering grad student Alfredo Costilla Reyes was awarded the Mexico National Youth award Nov. 7. 

The Mexico National Youth award, the highest award presented by the Government of Mexico to the country’s youth, was presented to Alfredo Costilla Reyes, a Texas A&M graduate student working toward a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
Alfredo Costilla Reyes’ path to A&M has been woven with prestigious and noteworthy accomplishments. Dating back to childhood in Toluca City, Mexico when he found his interest in the entrepreneurial lifestyle. From his parents enrolling him in “My First Company” workshops at the age of 9 to starting a company after graduating college, Alfredo Costilla Reyes has not slowed down.
“I really want to be the change I want to see in the world,” Alfredo Costilla Reyes said. “I think that my studies along with my projects are just an instrument to build a better world. I want my work to improve somebody else’s life. For me, that makes me jump out of bed every single morning.”
After receiving a degree in electronic engineering from the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Alfredo Costilla Reyes found his way to A&M. During a competition in his undergraduate studies, he won a fully funded research summer-stay at A&M, which strengthened his affinity to graduate school.
BitGrange is a current project Alfredo Costilla Reyes has been a part of. The goal of the project is to be the agriculture platform for a new generation of food consumers. This gives consumers the opportunity be their own food producers by allowing them to grow food inside their houses.
“We are creating tools for a new generation of farmers and entrepreneurs in the ag space,” Alfredo Costilla Reyes said. “We are giving them the best tool they can have: education. I think we live in a very disrupting era, my vision for BitGrange is that by providing with this tool to millions of families, and allowing them to grown their own food in an easy and fun way, one day we will be able to see the largest farm in the planet that doesn’t own a single square inch of land.”
Omar Costilla Reyes, his brother, is a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. He has been involved with the software side of the project. Omar Costilla Reyes said his brother’s work ethic, determination and responsibility toward others is inspirational.
“He is very well deserving of receiving the award since his story is a source of inspiration to the Mexican youth and society in general,” Omar Costilla Reyes said. “I think his drive to make a positive impact on society has been a crucial factor to win the award. Since he graduated from the University of the State of Mexico he has created a variety of companies, from starting a Mexican sauce business to creating a tablet.”
Omar Costilla Reyes said success comes with perseverance and his brother is a prime example. When they were younger, the two sparked a flame of passion and contributed to one another’s love for science and engineering.
“Since we were young we were entrepreneurs; we went knocking door to door near our house selling Mexican candies to the neighbors,” Omar Costilla Reyes said. “We both share the same responsibility to work for a major cause in our society and to solve a major problem in this world that can reach millions of people. He has always shown big responsibility and determination in everything he does. I have seen him go the extra mile to complete things he feels passionate about.”
Alfredo Costilla Reyes said he credits Kim Dooley, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences associate dean, for being a constant source of support and unceasing motivation. Dooley said she met him a year ago when he participated in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences competition on the Grand Challenges. Dooley said that despite all of the awards, Costilla beams with humility and gratitude.
“He reminds me why I love working in higher education,” Dooley said. “After his team won our competition, there was quite a bit of synergy. The team went to the Thought for Food competition in Amsterdam and they were able to pitch the prototype. We encouraged him to apply for the Kirchner Food Prize, where he became the first TAMU winner. As a native of Mexico, it made sense to support his nomination for this prestigious award. We are very proud of him.”
Alfredo Costilla Reyes’ journey to the Mexico National Youth award was not without hindrances. He said his first year of graduate school was complicated and close to prematurely ending.
“At that time, when I was working in my projects, some people told me I was wasting my time, and asked me to give up, some others even laughed at my plans,” Alfredo Costilla Reyes said. “But I didn’t give up on my dreams, I kept believing in myself and mastering my craft.”
Alfredo Costilla Reyes said he was able to find a support group and find momentum from such adversities. Now, he said that he realizes after winning the Mexico National Youth Award that people attentively listen to him. Because of this award, Costilla Reyes said he sees the palpability of his actions and the accompanying effect.
“This award also lets me open more doors and to have a wider network, just to say an example, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, invited me to meet him last week,” Alfredo Costilla Reyes said. “It all originated from receiving this award.”
Currently, Alfredo Costilla Reyes said he is aware of friction between the United States and Mexico. To improve these tensions, he said his work will go beyond himself and benefit the world around him.
“I want to help the United States see that Mexico is also sending their best people,” Alfredo Costilla Reyes said. “We are not enemies, we are neighbors and I know that even though this topic is way beyond my hands, I want to do great things at A&M and improve the world around me and be the change I want to see between our nations.”

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