Francesco Verna-Ketel

A love for technology is not necessarily what you would expect from someone who grew up without a television, but ironically it spurred Francesco Verna-Ketel’s interest in computers. Without a television he spent more time at the computer.

“At first my friends didn't want to come to my house because I didn't have a TV, but then I would show them you can do so much more on a computer and they ended up learning a lot of tricks from me,” Verna-Ketel says.

He also spent hours watching his dad work at home drafting in CAD. “It drew me into what's possible on these platforms,” he says.

But during high school his focus switched to electrical engineering when he began learning more about the materials and the electronics that are the basis of computers. Now that he is in pro-school, he is excited to start taking classes that are more specialized so he can figure out what area to pursue in the future. He hopes to continue on to graduate school, where he can gain a deeper understanding of his field and be involved with research that pushes the boundaries of technology.

“I’m not interested in electrical engineering because of the money you can make; I'm more interested in the possibilities that it represents. So I feel like it would be beneficial for me to take more time in school,” he says.

Verna-Ketel says he “instantly fell in love” with Oregon State on his first visit when he talked to students and saw the facilities. In his first two years here, he has appreciated the warm, friendly sense of community on campus and in Corvallis. He also has built a community with his friends and organizes a soccer team to play in the intramural league.

This year, Verna-Ketel is the recipient of the TP Forever Memorial Scholarship, given to students with financial need in electrical and computer engineering. The scholarship was made possible by the family of Tony Platt, who earned his degree in electrical engineering at Oregon State in 2007 and passed away unexpectedly in 2012. Because Platt played recreational sports in college, the family prefers the scholarship recipients are also involved in athletics.

“It’s definitely appreciated to have your hard work rewarded,” Verna-Ketel says of the scholarship.

Verna-Ketel is interested in so many things there are almost too many options for the future, and he realizes he may have to choose between opportunities for research, studying abroad, and internships. He strives to maintain a good balance in his life while still achieving academic success.

“Classes are such a commitment, and you put so much into it, that you really care about how it turns out. The sports and extracurricular activities help round it out to make it interesting and fun. And I think OSU does a great job of offering all those opportunities,” he says.

Story by Rachel Robertson