Tell us about your current job and what you like most about it.
At Moog, I’m responsible for testing hardware for the Orion Service Module. Our customers lay out this giant document about all the things the hardware needs to be able to do in all the different environments that it’s going to be subjected to. It’s my job to make sure that it will. We need to know that hardware going to space will survive in it, after all.
My work is part of the Artemis program (the one sending women to the moon – how cool!). I like being able to work with the hardware and dissect specifications to figure out how we can prove that we meet them. Testing and labs were my favorite part of school and research, so getting to keep doing it is awesome. Every job has its ups and downs, and the biggest one will be watching a rocket launch and knowing that I had a part of iat.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering/your specific discipline?
I initially wanted to work in solar energy, which is what got me into electrical engineering. I meandered through a bunch of different fields with my internships and research (construction, satellite design, nuclear work, and general industry). One of my dear friends and my LSAMP mentor reached out to me when I was done with school to bring me into Moog and I can’t thank him enough.
Was there a memorable lecture, person, or moment from your UB experience that stuck with you and helped shape your future?
UB had a lecture with John Maher when I was an undergrad. It wasn’t an official one that they advertised as a speaker series – it was something I only found out about on the day of. He worked on the James Webb telescope and came in to tell us the story behind him, his work, and the scope. I remember going with my best friend Paul and just sitting in NSC in awe. Practically, we knew the material, but to have the idea implanted in us that we could be doing that kind of work someday was amazing. And to learn it in the very same seats we learned Physics 101! I still have a picture of the telescope he signed for me.
Now that I’m working in the same industry, maybe someone will look at me the same way in the future. I don’t remember if he said it directly or not, but whenever I remember this I always think: “The sky was never a limit!”
What clubs or organizations were you a part of during your time at UB? Did they influence your career choice or opportunities?
I joined the engineering clubs on campus, but the big one for me will always be rugby. Spending every weekend on the pitch with my team got me through a lot of years of engineering school. I played for five years in school and a couple after that, and I’ll love the sport forever. When I was a junior, we placed 4th and got to fly out to California for nationals! Great times!
As a student, what did you want to be “when you grew up?”
I’ve always wanted to leave my impact on the world. Every path I explored had the common theme of impact. I always wanted to be part of a team that ‘changed’ the world. Now, I’ve found a way to leave an impact on a little more than the world.
What made you join Moog and what motivates you to come to work every day?
I’m going to put women on the moon, and then I’m going to get a tattoo of a rocketship on my wrist!
What have you done that you’re most proud of?
During graduate school, I won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and used that opportunity to present my work at Sandia National Laboratories. My proudest moment was when they invited me to continue my studies there.
Looking back, is there anything about your career that you’d change? Anything that you wish you’d known earlier on?
I’m a little too early in my career to change anything yet, but in school I focused so much on my academics that I didn’t think about my career! I wish I had tailored classes and clubs based on what I wanted to do when school was over as opposed to just trying to finish my degrees.
What advice do you have for other Hispanic, Latinx, or minority students in engineering?
A lot of people kept trying to tone me down, and well meaning people tried to cut me to pieces to try and shape me to fit their mold of success. Don’t let them! Build your support system and break that mold. Join groups and build connections with people who share some of your life experiences, and find mentors who are invested in your success. It’s easy to feel alone and discouraged but try and find your village.
What do you miss most about UB?
I miss living so close to all my friends!
Wings or pizza?
Wings! As much as I love the Queen City, I don’t think they’ve got the hang of pizza yet... If I’m back in NYC though, I’m ordering the whole pie!