Marco currently works in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in high voltage Substation Operations. He joined the lab as part though the Base 11 program and here is an account of his experience at LPL:
In LPL, I was in charge of integrating pre-existing safety checklist software with electronic hardware. The idea was minimizing possible mis-operation on a user-interface and instead have a physical control box with a number of safety features. This was an idea from a previous LPL member which I continued- I put together the parts ordered, wired the operational components, and created a separate user-interface to digitally reflect the status of the control box with a set of safety warnings for specific conditions as well as status updates.
I chose USC because it is a great school and I knew I would get an amazing experience over there. I wanted to do an internship with rocketry and after doing research on the lab and seeing the prestige, I saw a lot of achievements and wanted to be a part of it
I would say that people at the lab are just amazing individuals and the atmosphere is very friendly and open. The lab is diverse with many different backgrounds in race, culture, and education, but that doesn’t stop communication and effectiveness of this lab’s progress. Although it may be intimidating, it is humbling and gratifying to be able to work along people with immense knowledge and experience in this field and know that they are always open to cooperation and constructive input and vice versa.
Another thing about this lab is that everyone is open to new ideas no matter who it is coming from and ready to adapt to any issue that comes along the way – and with rockets there is always an problem to solve. Also I like that there is a strong sense of initiative and accountability, if there is a project someone wants to take up then they may take it up and have all the lab’s support.
I am not sure if I will transfer to USC, but being in the lab strongly influenced my decision to consider doing so. The sheer drive of the engineering students is infectious. Also the resources and support is phenomenal. I would like to have that kind of atmosphere/environment when I transfer.
I’ve been in the power systems industry for almost 2 years. I’d like to finish getting my engineering degree(might transfer from mechanical to electrical) and possibly run my own power systems safety company. I would just like to get more technical knowledge with formal education in both engineering and business.
Marco plans on going to back to school to finish his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from either USC or UCLA.