From Brazil to Florida Poly: Using his passion for computer science to fulfill his purpose

Roberto Williams Batista
Roberto Williams Batista is in his first year of graduate school at Florida Polytechnic University where he is working on a master’s in computer science with a focus on big data analytics. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native calls Florida Poly a “place with an open heart to international students.”

Editor’s Note: At Florida Poly, we’re 100 percent STEM so it’s only natural that we’re turning National STEM Day 2018 (Nov. 8) into a weeklong celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math. Up first is a focus on the “science” in STEM.

The idea of going back to school after spending more than two decades in the workforce can be daunting. Imagine, though, relocating your entire family to another country to do it. That’s what Roberto Williams Batista is doing as a graduate student at Florida Polytechnic University. From Sao Paulo, Brazil, Batista is in his first year of a two-year program as he seeks a master’s in computer science with a focus on big data analytics.

Batista, 45, has worked for several global companies, including Ericsson and Giesecke & Devrient, in positions ranging from a testing specialist to a regional sales director. His career also includes roles as an independent business consultant and several years as a pastor.

For the past three years, he has co-founded a number of start-ups ranging from court verdict prediction to industrial Internet of things (IoT). One start-up in particular, called Projeto Luckie, is designed to support pediatric oncological treatment. It’s also why he’s at Florida Poly.

The goal is to apply data analytics to develop an algorithm that will predict how children in Brazil may react to chemotherapy, such as how some sectors of the population may be more prone to infection than others. He’s already partnered with an oncologist in his home country so he can study hundreds of past cases of pediatric leukemia as part of his research at Florida Poly.

“The idea is that we model and understand how children react to chemotherapy and introduce a wearable and real-time monitoring,” said Batista. “We have skills to do this, but in terms of research, we have another level of challenges to go through before we can test on patients.”

Earlier this year, a group of Florida Poly officials traveled to Brazil to promote the University and help build strategic alliances with universities and industry. At the time, Batista was already considering Florida Poly as a graduate school destination and said meeting the contingent helped him finalize his decision.

Batista said he’s not at Florida Poly just to learn but to exchange experience and contribute. He said it’s important to make a difference for a “young university with a great future ahead.”

It’s also where he can work on Projeto Luckie, which he calls his new “purpose” in life.

“That’s my current challenge, and I’m very happy I found Florida Polytechnic University. It has wonderful people, wonderful faculty and a wonderful environment,” he said. “This is a place with an open heart to international students.”

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications

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