What got you interested in robotics engineering?
I like working with my hands. I had a career in cooking and baking for about a decade before deciding to go back to school. There are a lot of processes in baking, especially what I specialize in, which is sourdough bread and naturally leavened breads. Thinking ahead, sometimes days ahead, is important in baking because you have to set up how your dough is going to rise and how your yeast is going to grow and how warm it will be that day or how much moisture is in the air. It all affects the outcome. I like that all-inclusiveness and having to be aware of all the aspects that affect one project, so I wanted to see that come together on the engineering side.
I was drawn to robotics because it’s the intersection between at least three or four different types of engineering all coming together so you get a splash of flavor from all these different worlds that prepare you to go into many different aspects of engineering.
I really like Santa Cruz. It’s a funny place to have a college but it’s really special. It’s kind of known as an artist/hippie/wanderer/surf community. The nature aspect of it is fantastic. I like being outside, so I run on the trails behind campus three days a week. There’s a lot of land back there which I really appreciate and that’s what drew me to this school. I remember visiting the year before I started here, and it was raining and misty and wet and all the redwoods outside the library were being enveloped by fog and I wanted to be able to study in that library. That itself is reason enough to go to UC Santa Cruz. The professors I’ve had are from all different backgrounds and mindsets. They’re very talented and have done some amazing things in the professional world that makes me happy to learn from them. It’s pretty neat.
I want to go into renewable energy and maybe work in control systems or project management.
What do you do for fun?
I like to trail run. I just ran a 30k through the mountains and right behind campus. It was difficult but a lot of fun. I like to do bike touring. I did a cross country trip from here to Georgia which was a really eye-opening experience. I’ve done a lot of shorter tours also and like biking around in general. I like to cook a lot. I was getting burnt out on it when I was doing it for a living, but now I can do it for fun again and it really helps me relax. When I have a bunch of projects and am really stressed, I’ll spend an hour or two making a whole bunch of food and then I can sit down and do all that schoolwork.