Rafael is the newest, most exciting, and humblest teacher at Fusion. He was born in LA and lived there most of his life. He was competitive from an early age and he usually thrives in high-pressure environments. For example, at age 14 he began competing in long-distance running. By age 15 he was nationally ranked in the half marathon, which he was able to complete in 1 hour and 12 minutes, at an average of 5:32 per mile. He also began solving Rubik’s cubes competitively, winning several contests. His fastest solve at a tournament was 6.28 seconds.
In 2008, Rafael was admitted to the UCLA School of Engineering. Rafael experimented with mechanical and aerospace engineering before finally finding his passion in theoretical astrophysics. He worked as a researcher in the hybrid propulsion rocket lab and also the flutter energy generation lab. He was also the space telescope operator for the astronomical society, where he would host star shows weekly. While in college, Rafael tutored inner-city kids almost every day and changed lives forever. He eventually became the Director for a tutoring group named KASEO, and he also became the Budget Director for an organization called Amigos de UCLA, which combined supplied more than 150 UCLA tutors to at-risk students in the inner city.
After graduating in 2012, Rafael wanted to live outside the US and experience a different cultural setting, so he moved out to South Korea, where he spent a few years teaching advanced mathematics and English. During this time, he became a competitive foosball player and received an invitation to be on the Korean National Team. After moving back to the US with his wife, Rafael found Fusion, which was clearly the best place for him to take his talents. In his spare time, Rafael likes to eat and sleep, and also spend time with his wife if time permits.