Design Science Student Headed to MIT


Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

Issak Hernandez A Fresno City College dual enrollment student recently found out he was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A Fresno City College dual enrollment student recently found out he was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Issak Hernandez, 17, who is finishing up his senior year at Design Science High School, is also a math and physics tutor at FCC.

Hernandez has had aspirations of attending MIT and working in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from as young as eighth grade, he said.

“After a college research project in the eighth grade, and being someone that likes math and science, I decided to look into what schools are good for math and science,” Hernandez said. “Really quickly, I came across MIT as being the premiere institution for anything stem related.”

Hernandez said he became aware of how rigorous the college acceptance process is and how prestigious the programs at MIT are. MIT has an acceptance rate of  7.9 percent, according to

“I had a posterboard; I researched MIT, the campus, the dorms, the programs, and I had a really deep understanding of the rigor and prestige the school holds,” Hernandez said. “That was my first introduction to the campus and really wanting to get there.”

Hernandez said although he worked hard toward his dream, there were times when he wasn’t sure it would come true.

“Truth be told, there are times where you feel like it is going to be out of reach and definitely those times had come,” he said. “But I still was very passionate about the school, so when application season came last semester, I decided to be brave and apply.”

Hernandez was born and raised in Fresno, in a Mexican-American household. Growing up in the public education system in Fresno, Hernandez decided to further his education at Design Science, which offers a dual enrollment with FCC during senior year, making Hernandez a full-time FCC student.

Hernandez is currently undecided on his major at MIT, but is leaning towards  mechanical engineering, and minoring in physics.

“It’s going to be incredibly academically rigorous, just by the research online and talking to people who have gone,” Hernandez said. “It is very clear to me that is an entire different level of academics.”

He is putting all of his time and focus into being a straight-A student, but still finds time to be actively involved as secretary of the student body at his high school.

Hernandez also dedicates some time to his church, Christian Fellowship. He runs the soundboard, audio and video systems every Thursday and Sunday night.

Hernandez said he understands he has an amazing opportunity, but moving 3,000 miles away and being on his own at 18 is something he has reservations about.

“It feels very surreal to me, even just talking about it,” Hernandez said. “I am terrified in the most true sense of the word, but I am also really excited. It is scary, but it is an opportunity that would be crazy to pass up.”