Dr. Ronaldo Menezes (Associate Professor)

 
 

BEfore College

I was born in the city of Fortaleza in the State of Ceará, Brazil on November 19th, 1969. I'm the youngest of six: I have two sisters (Flávima and Henilde) and three brothers (Flávio Filho, Robson and Henilton). I'm the son of Flávio Augusto and Maria do Carmo.


I couldn't have asked for a better childhood. I really had a lot of fun. I was always playing with my friends on the streets of my neighborhood. My favorite games were kite flying (which is kind of different in Brazil given that it is a competition), playing with marbles (again played as a competition in Brazil) and obviously soccer. I never got to be good at soccer so I dedicated to play basketball. I played for the best basketball team in my city at that time (BNB Clube) and we were six-times state champions. Everything I learned about basketball I owe it to Núbio Vidal who was my first coach and Robson who was my second coach and the one with whom we won five of our six state championships. I also played basketball for my middle school (Hildete de Sá Cavalcante -- today called Ari de Sá) coached my Aldírio and for my high school (Colégio Batista).


COLLEGE YEARS

Given my activities as a basketball player, I was absolutely sure that I wanted to pursue Physical Education as my major in college. However it turned out that on the of the admission exam for college, I realized that (maybe) I didn't have much future as a basketball player, at least to the extend to be able to make a living. Fortaleza has many universities, so given that I wasn't sure I wanted to be a computer scientist, I decided to enroll (in parallel with Computer Science) as a Ocean Engineering student at the Federal University of Ceará. After one semester doing both Computer Science and Ocean Engineering concurrently, I decided to drop Ocean Engineering to dedicate my full time to Computer Science at University of Fortaleza.

I graduated in 1992. By that time I was IT director at a textile company called Fiotex Industrial S/A. Before, I worked as a trainee for the state goverment, and also worked as a trainee, programmer and systems analyst at Mota Machado Construction S/A from the same group that owned Fiotex Industrial. It wasn't until my senior year in college (and already working in Industry) that a realized that I wanted to do research. In my mind, I was young and could risk giving up my position (I was 23 years old).


GRADUATE SCHOOL

I applied to several universities in Brazil but decided to attend the Institute of Computing at the State University of Campinas, arguably the best university for computer science studies in Brazil. There I had my first opportunity to work under the supervision of world-class researchers and began to understand that the academic field (and particular research)  was my future. I work under the supervision of Dr. João Carlos Setubal.  He was one of the biggest inspirations to my academic life, his passion, his rigour, are just some of his qualities continue to inspire me and will for the rest of my life. I graduated after 2 years and 3 months (in 1995) with a dissertation entitled "Models of Parallel Computation" a survey of theoretical algorithmic models of parallel computation. The committee that approved my master thesis included my supervisor, Prof. Siang Wun Song (University of São Paulo) and Dr. Arthur João Catto (State University of Campinas).

During my MSc, I also worked as an adjuct professor at Padre Anchieta University and also as a senior consultant for  Mota Machado Construction S/A in São Paulo, Brazil. I also return to Fortaleza to work as a IT director for a cable company.  I didn't stay long on this position because I resigned after I heard my application to enroll as a PhD student at the University of York in England had been accepted.

Soon after I got married with my fiancee, Sarah, and together went to England. I can't describe what it is to be a country that you have never been before without anyone that you know. Yet, I looked forward working towards by PhD. In York, I started working with Dr. Alan Wood, a wonderful person and excellent supervisor. Alan taught me that that supervision is more than just taking about the technical aspects of my work. A PhD is a life and Alan knew that and was always open to talk about various aspects of my life as a PhD student. I worked in the Linda group at the University of York which was part of PLASMA. My group was very active in publication and research and included Dr. Antony Rowstron, Dr. Iain Merrick and Dr. Duncan Campbell. These people were very inspiring and were always very helpful particularly during my first years in the Linda group.

I defended my dissertation on September 1999 but my official degree is from July 2000 (due to the University of York's policy of issuing diplomas only once a year). My committee was formed by my supervisor (but supervisors are not part of the defense/viva process in the UK), Prof. Colin Runciman (University of York) and Prof. Robert Tolksdorf (currently at Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany). My defense was 4-hour long, with Prof. Runciman making sure that I could explain almost every single page of my dissertation! (thanks Colin! I really appreciate your work and the manner you conducted the viva. I’ve learned a lot in this process).


LIFE AFTER THE PhD

After my graduation I took up a permanent position at the University of Ulster also in the UK. I was allocated to the Magee Campus in Derry, Northern Ireland. This was my first experience as a full-time college professor; I was appointed as lecturer in computer science (equivalent of assistant professor in the USA) in a permanent position. It was a great learning experience and my colleagues at the department in Magee were quite receptive to my appointment. I’ve made good friends there, some that I still keep in contact with. 

I lived 1 year in Ireland, as a matter of fact, I actually lived in Ireland (the republic) and worked in Derry (Northern Ireland, UK). I found this nice house across the border in the city of Buncrana and we thought it would be better for us and the kids to be there, away from the eventual problems one have in Derry (ie. the issues of protestants vs. catholics). Buncrana was great and the people there knew us by name because I guess we were the first Brazilians to live there. Buncrana has a population of about 6,000 people so it is no hard to get to know most people. The point here is that we really enjoyed and they all made us feel like we were home.


After 1 year in Ireland I accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL, USA. It was a big change for us. First the culture, but also the weather, the lifestyle, everything was different.

to be continued.. 

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