LAunchPad

LAunchPad at Cal State LA mark

Welcome to the California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) LAunchPad Summer Program. LAunchPad is a two-week summer program at Cal State LA where you learn about the exciting ways engineers and computer scientists make the world a better place.

Summer 2021 Virtual Program

JULY 12 - 23
Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Explore • Discover • Launch

LAP students smiling

Explore the fields of civil engineering, computer and electrical engineering, computer science, materials science, mechanical engineering, technology and discover how choosing to study in these majors looks like in a career after college. Along the way, you’ll make new friends, meet our ECST students and faculty, and get to learn more about our College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

Industry Panel

two female industry speakers

Connecting with Professionals

Engineers and Computer Scientists working in the field serve as panelists to explain what their jobs involve, answer questions, and share their experiences to help you better understand the field.

Degrees and Careers

black and white illustration icons representing topics

There’s nothing more powerful than connecting with another student who’s already been on the journey you’re starting. Student speakers share their experiences as they pursue engineering, technology, and computer science opportunities, degrees, and careers. Hear first-hand what it's like to be an undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate student. Discover the power of internships and what it's like working in the field.

Individual Attention

female ECST student facilitator hold wire and explains to student

Learning Facilitators

LAunchPad students are grouped into small teams for added support and individual attention. Each team is led by a learning facilitator who guides participants through the program and serves as a project lead as students prepare their Futurathon final project. Meet the Cal State LA College of ECST students who are proud to serve as LAunchPad learning facilitators

Meet the LAunchPad 2021 Learning Facilitators

Viviana Gallardo-Cardiel Carolina Gonzalez Eyleen Sanchez Veronica Sifuentes Joselyn Sosa-Benavides
Viviana Gallardo-Cardiel
Studying: Mechanical Engineering
Carolina Gonzalez
Studying: Mechanical Engineering,
LAunchPad Alumni
Eyleen Sanchez
Studying: Electrical Engineering,
LAunchPad Alumni
Veronica Sifuentes
Studying: Mechanical Engineering,
LAunchPad Alumni
Joselyn Sosa-Benavides
Studying: Mechanical Engineering,
LAunchPad Alumni

LAunchPad 2021

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Cal State LA's College of ECST two-week LAunchPad Summer Program takes place virtually July 12 - 23, 2021, Monday thru Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

What's the 2021 Schedule Like?

Select a date below to view each day's detailed schedule, activities, and learn about the presenters.

 

How Do I Access LAunchPad?

Check your email for program access instructions. Contact Thelma Federico if you have any questions.

What's A Typical Day?

Faculty present in the morning, followed by an interactive project and industry presentations.

Each day has a unique theme guiding the presentations, discussions, and activities. The Cal State LA College of ECST faculty present in the morning, then open the floor for a Q&A discussion. This is followed by an interactive or hands-on activity that is computer-generated or using household items. Industry professionals present next and invite you to be curious and ask questions! Finally, on the last day of the program, we have our annual Futurathon and celebrate with a virtual awards ceremony.

Week One Schedule

Select a date below to view each day's detailed schedule and activities.

MON • JULY 12

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Aerospace and Rockets

Learn how engineers across disciplines collaborate to study the atmosphere and the universe. Explore the exciting work engineers do in the Aerospace industry and Rocket Propulsion with Cal State LA faculty and industry professionals.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

LAunchPad 2021 Kickoff!
  • Welcome

    Emily Allen, Ph.D.
    Dean, College of Engineering, Computer Science, & Technology
    Cal State LA

     
  • Key Note Speaker & QA

    Susan Doniz
    Chief Information Officer, The Boeing Company
    Senior Vice President, Information Technology & Data Analytics
 

9:25 AM - 10:00 AM
Boeing Presentation

Boeing Panel
  • Boeing Panel: "Boeing: Building our Future Together"

    Justene Noelle Karimi
    Manager of Boeing Global Services
    The Boeing Company


    Jomya Lei
    Senior Radio Frequency Hardware Engineer
    The Boeing Company


    Diana B. Lopez
    Manager of Maritime Undersea Platform Programs
    The Boeing Company


    Kia Lorece Smith
    Space & Launch Senior Project Engineer
    The Boeing Company
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Break
10:15 AM - 10:30 AM
Check-In & Instructions

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

Faculty Presentation

"Rocket Propulsion"

Jeff Santner, Ph.D. & Mario Medina Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

 

TUE • JULY 13

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Water and Power

Have you ever wondered how your faucet turns on in the morning when you go and brush your teeth, shower, or cook? Do you think this will continue to happen every day you wake up? Water and energy are intertwined vital resources for a thriving life needed in every sector for daily activities. During this event, Cal State LA faculty, scientists, and industry professionals will provide demos and insight into California's Water and Power Resources.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentation

Sonya Lopez, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Civil Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
  • Terravanta Inc.

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

WED • JULY 14

robot icon

Robotics

Robotics, what exactly is it?  Take a look around, and you'll notice all kinds of robotics used at home for fun, education, and tasks. You can find them flying in the sky for surveillance or operate in space as a humanoid. Perform dangerous jobs and search for survivors after an emergency. During this event, students will learn all about robotics.  Cal State LA faculty and industry professionals will share the various fields impacted by robotics, from transportation to medicine.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentation

He Shen, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Mechanical Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • General Motors
  • Mechanical Engineering  - Ph.D. Perspective
    Robotics and Computer Architecture Research

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

THU • JULY 15

electrical-software engr icon

Electrical and Software Engineering

What does it mean to design complex circuits or create the programs they use? Imagine working with electricity to power a city, design communications used in space, interfacing sensor networks with mobile devices, or creating an app that changes not only how we live our daily lives but can save them. Discover how electrical engineers conceive new electronics and design machine learning algorithms. Find out how software engineers analyze, design, and develop beautiful, user-friendly software from an engineering perspective. Learn what it means to be an electrical and software engineer from industry professionals.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Futurathon Preparation

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • Astronautical Engineering - Graduate Perspective & Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Internship Experience - Systems Testbed Engineer
  • Complex Systems and Data Science Disease Modeling and Network Science - Graduate Perspective & ThoughtWorks, NY Work Insights

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

FRI • JULY 16

materials science icon

Materials Science

The discovery of new materials!  Everything is made of something, and materials scientists investigate why materials perform or fail. Discover how new materials are invented and how materials science is used to solve problems and imagine possibilities.  Students will learn about how they can make a mark on the world through the study of science and engineering.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentations

  • Emily Allen, Ph.D.
    Dean, Cal State LA, College of ECST
     
  • Chris Bachman, Ph.D.
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Mechanical Engineering

     
  • Emily Vargas
    Ph.D. Student
    University of Southern California
    Materials Science and Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentation

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

Week Two Schedule

MON • JULY 19

computer with code symbol icon

Computer Science is So Diverse

Computer science (CS) touches every field and inspires creativity with its endless possibilities and applications. Students receive a high-level introduction to the diverse world of Computer Science during this event, focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science (DS). Faculty and industry professionals reveal how these powerful technologies surround us today and discuss how they might evolve in the future. Explore CS/DS/AI applications solving real-world problems, from predicting cancer and natural disasters to the infinite potential of teaching computers to "see" the world through computer vision.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentation

Mohammad Pourhomayoun, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Computer Science

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentation

  • The Aerospace Corporation
  • Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific
  • Computer Science - Graduate Perspective & American Express Internship Experience

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

TUE • JULY 20

building fire icon

Making California Safe

Everybody wants to feel safe when disaster strikes. During this event, students will learn about how engineers design to prepare for fires, earthquakes, and other emergencies with Cal State LA faculty and industry professionals.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentations

  • Xiaolei Chen, Ph.D.
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Technology,
    Fire Protection Administration & Technology

     
  • Maryam Nazari, Ph.D.
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Civil Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • McCarthy Construction
  • City of LA, Bureau of Engineering
  • City of LA, Department of Building and Safety (LADBS)

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

WED • JULY 21

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Environmental Engineering

How do engineers work with soil science, biology, and chemistry to keep our environment safe and healthy?  What does it take to prevent, control or remediate environmental hazards? During this event, students will earn about engineering a solution to LA air pollution with Cal State LA faculty and industry professionals.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentation

Arezoo Khodayari, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Civil Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • Cordoba Corporation
  • SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions
  • Mechanical Engineering - Undergrad Perspective & John Deere Internship Experience

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

THU • JULY 22

brain biomedical icon

Biomedical Engineering

What if you could use engineering to help someone regain the ability to walk or talk? Imagine designing a device to improve sight, keep a heart beating, create artificial organs, and more! Students will get an overview of how electrical and computer engineering is applied to the medical field with Cal State LA faculty and industry professionals during this event.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Engineering Mornings

Daily Check-In and Overview

9:15 AM - 10:45 AM
Faculty Presentations

Debbie Won, Ph.D. and Curtis Wang, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Presentations

  • Johnson & johnson, Biosense Webster
  • Gregorius|Pineo

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

FRI • JULY 23

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Futurathon

Students tasked to build a solar car!  During this event, student teams lead by College of ECST student assistants will be showcasing their work building and designing a solar car that can travel the most vertical height going uphill.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Welcome
9:15 Am - 11:15 AM
Futurathon Teams finalizing pitch and lab reports   

11:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Futurathon Showcase
11:45 AM - 12:00 AM
Break

12:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Awards Ceremony

We hope you enjoy your two weeks on our virtual LAunchPad program and that you consider applying to ECST this Fall when it’s time for your college applications.

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Get to Know Today's Speakers.

Scroll down to the "MEET THE SPEAKERS" section below to view and learn more about all the LAunchPad 2021 faculty and Industry speakers.

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Where expertise meets inspiration! LAunchPad brings together expert faculty, industry, and inspiring student speakers who transform this summer program from much more than a learning experience. Our speakers challenge students to dream and imagine themselves in the future as engineers and computer scientists.

Meet the Speakers

ECST faculty speakers

Faculty Speakers

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

emily allenEmily Allen, Ph.D.

Dr. Emily Allen has served as Dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles, since 2013. She previously served San José State University as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, Chair of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Professor of Materials Engineering, Director of the Northern California regional affiliate of Project Lead the Way, and Founding Director of both the SJSU Materials Characterization and Metrology Center and the SJSU Microprocess Engineering Laboratory. She earned her BS in Metallurgy and Materials Science from Columbia University and her MS and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

She has worked with faculty and staff to create a summer engineering and computing program for high school girls, LAunchPad, as a platform to increase the number of women pursuing STEM fields in college. Throughout her academic career, Dr. Allen has endeavored to create inclusive environments through mentoring students, staff, and faculty.

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

chris bachmanChris Bachman, Ph.D.

Dr. Bachman is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal State LA. He received his B.S. (2010) and M.S. (2012) from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), and his Ph.D. (2017) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, he performed research under the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department Fellowship. He has performed research in batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors, wind energy, and engineering education. His work has been featured in Nature Materials, Nature Communications, and Chemical Reviews and has been cited over 700 times in the previous five years. He has taught experimental methods, control systems, and mechanical design at UC Davis; physics and calculus at MIT; fluid mechanics and mechanical vibrations the Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT); and Introduction to Engineering and Technology, Introduction to Mechanical Design, Thermodynamics, and Senior Design at Cal State LA. He also currently advises both the Baja SAE and Formula SAE competition teams, directs the ECST Makerspace, and runs the Sustainable Technology Lab researching inexpensive and safe energy storage.

burning building icon  MAKING CA SAFE (TUE • JULY 20)

 

xiaolei chenXiaolei (Lily) Chen, Ph.D.

Dr. Chen received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and joined Cal State LA as an assistant professor in Fire Protection Administration and Technology in 2015. Her major field is fire protection engineering, with a focus on building fire performance evaluation. In addition to teaching, she conducts research in performance-based design approach, fire modeling and simulation, fire safety in green building, etc.

leaf icon  ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (WED • JULY 21)

 

arezoo khodayariArezoo Khodayari, Ph.D.

Dr. Khodayari is an Assistant professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, and the founding director of the Environmental Sustainability and Pollution Control (ESPC) research lab, and her research is focused on developing sustainable engineering solutions for air and water pollution prevention and control, quantifying air quality and climate effects of various natural and human-made emissions, integrated environmental impact assessment, environmental sustainability, and energy-water-climate nexus.

building icon WHAT MAKES A CITY RUN? (TUE • JULY 13)

 

sonya lopezSonya Lopez, Ph.D.

Dr. Lopez is an Associate Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at Cal State LA. Her research specializations are Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering; Physically-based and Conceptually-based hydrologic modeling; Remote Sensing of the Environment.

rocket icon  ROCKET PROPULSION (MON • JULY 12)

 

mario lopezMario Medina, Ph.D.

Dr. Medina is an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at California State University, Los Angeles.  He received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan (UM). His research focused on characterizing fuel sprays for advanced internal combustion engine strategies using optical techniques. He has conducted research at various institutions, including Robert Bosch LLC in 2018 and Centro Motores Termicos at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain in 2019. Mario was an active leader at UM, heavily involved with the Society of Hispanics Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter.

burning building icon  MAKING CA SAFE (TUE • JULY 20)

 

maryam nazariMaryam Nazari, Ph.D.

Dr. Nazari is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Cal State LA. She received her Ph.D. in Structural Engineering with a Minor in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 2016. Prior to joining Cal State LA in Fall 2020, she worked as a faculty member at a sister CSU, Fresno State, for four years. Dr. Nazari has taught a variety of courses in the areas of Engineering Mechanics and Structural Analysis and Design. Her research interests lie in the area of earthquake engineering, including techniques that ensure economical, resilient, and sustainable design of civil infrastructures against seismic hazards. She has been recognized with several research awards including from the ASCE ‐ San Francisco Section, the Fresno Regional Transportation Innovations Summit, and Iowa State University. In 2019, she was one of the recipients of an ASEE award for “Best Diversity Paper,” which aims to enhance the CSU Women Engineering Faculty Support Network.

computer icon  COMPUTER SCIENCE IS DIVERSE (MON • JULY 19)

 

Mo Pourhomayoun Mohammad Pourhomayoun, Ph.D.

Dr. Pourhomayoun is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at California State University Los Angeles Cal State LA). He is the founder and director of the Artificial Intelligence & Data Science Research Lab at Cal State LA. Dr. Pourhomayoun’s research interests focus on Data Science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning for healthcare and biomedical applications. Before joining Cal State LA, he was a Technical Project Manager and Senior Data Scientist at WANDA Inc., working on Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Large-scale Machine Learning for Healthcare applications. At the same time, he was also a Research Scientist at UCLA. Prior to this position, he was a Post-Doctoral Associate and Research Manager at the UCLA Computer Science Department. His postdoc research focused on Predictive Analytics and Advanced Machine Learning for mobile health and biomedicine. Before joining UCLA, he was a Research Scientist with Cornell University working on Large-scale Machine and Deep Learning. Dr. Pourhomayoun has more than 70 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers in his research field. He has received 3 “Best Paper Awards” in different conferences so far.

rocket icon ROCKET PROPULSION (MON • JULY 12)

 

Jeffery SantnerJeffery Santner, Ph.D.

Dr. Santner is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Cal State LA. His research is in combustion, with a focus on combustion chemistry and flame initiation/propagation. He is currently working on NOx formation, kinetic model reduction, design of optimal experiments, and extraction of reaction rates from literature experiments.

robot head icon  ROBOTICS (WED • JULY 14)

 

he shenHe Shen, Ph.D.

Dr. Shen received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with the Best Dissertation Award from the College of Engineering and Computer Science in 2014 from the University of Central Florida. He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and his research interests are in robotics, control systems, dynamics, and instrumentation. He is the founder and director of the Robotics Laboratory and an advisor of two student organizations – American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) at Cal State LA. He is also a recipient of the 2017 “Exceptional Levels of Service to Students Award” and 2020 “Faculty Mentor Honoree” at Cal State LA.

brain icon  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 22)

 

curtis wangCurtis Wang, Ph.D.

Dr. Wang is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cal State LA. His research areas are in embedded systems, high-performance computing, and biomedical engineering.  He is interested in the way mammalian spinal cords perform computation and ways to improve medical therapies, robotics, and computers using inspiration from the spine.

brain icon  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 22)

 

deborah wonDeborah Won, Ph.D

Dr. Won is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cal State LA. Her research area is in biomedical engineering. Broadly speaking, her main research interests are in intelligent medicine, where machine learning, computational modeling, and signal processing intersect with medical device therapies.  For example, she has investigated the cognitive effects of deep brain stimulation; engineered a neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy to restore stepping capability after spinal cord injury; and developed electromyography-based monitoring systems on mobile devices for facilitating exercise in wheelchairs.

 

Industry Speakers

building icon WHAT MAKES A CITY RUN? (TUE • JULY 13)

 

Illary ArchillaIllary Archilla

Illary Archilla Graduated from Universidad La Salle, Mexico City, with her Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Energetic Systems in 2003, a minor in Marketing and Business in 2006, and received her master's in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State Long Beach in 2012. She is the Founder, President, and CEO of Terravanta Inc, a project, construction, and sustainability management consulting firm. With over 15 years of international experience, Illary has become a leader in the energy /construction industry.   Her vision is a future where it is natural to see women in technical fields, where there is no bias based on gender, race, or social status, and where sustainable projects are not a trend but a part of regular life. To that end, she commits a portion of her company's revenue and her time to support programs that further this vision.  She enjoys traveling and outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and paddleboarding, to name a few.

leaf icon  ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (WED • JULY 21)

 

Heidy ArriolaHeidy Arriola

Heidy works as a sales engineer for SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions with primary responsibilities in water treatment services for refineries and power plants in Southern, CA. As a seasoned business development professional, Heidy works on fostering strong partnerships with customers as well as building strategy and tactics to maximize Suez technology solutions. Heidy started her career at USFilter/Siemens Water Technologies (now Evoqua) and moved onto work with Aggreko where she provided temporary utilities to petrochemical clients. Before joining Suez, Heidy worked for Envirogen Water Technologies where she focused on waste water treatment for Food & Beverage customers as well as Chromium remediation for municipal drinking water agencies. Heidy’s technical background stems from her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA. She firmly believes engineering is a solid foundation that opens many doors to various careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

 

In addition to her full-time job, Heidy is highly involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) where she has served the organization on many levels for many years. Most recently she was elected as the Vice-President of External Affairs for the SHPE Los Angeles chapter and served on SHPE’s National Board of Directors as Regional Vice President from 2013 – 2016. SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. Heidy is passionate about their mission and making an impact in her community.

Heidy lives in Pasadena, CA and is most happy when she is with family or giving back to her community.

burning building icon  COMPUTER SCIENCE IS DIVERSE (MON • JULY 19)

 

Krystal Bernal

Krystal Bernal

Krystal Bernal is a recent Cal State LA class of 2020 graduate in Computer Science, BS with a Mathematics minor. She works as an Analytics Software Developer at The Aerospace Corporation and is the host for the Staying Muddy Podcast. Her interest is in data science, robotics, and physical computing. She enjoys volunteering for SAE SoCal and giving back to her community.

burning building icon  MAKING CA SAFE (TUE • JULY 20)

 

Alison BlakeAlison Blake

Alison Blake graduated from Cal State Long Beach with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Sociology in 2013.  She began working for McCarthy Building Co. in 2014 as a Project Administrator and became a Project Engineer in 2018.  She has been managing the Mechanical, Electrical, and Fire Protection subcontractors at the Cal State Los Angeles Student Housing East Project since March of 2020.  She enjoys yoga sessions at the beach and camping trips with friends.

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

Aimee Bryan-Zeller, Ph.D.Aimee Bryan-Zeller, Ph.D.

Dr. Aimee M. Bryan has a B.S. in Biology and received her undergraduate chemistry education from California State University Northridge. She graduated from the University of California Davis in 2014 with her Ph.D. in Chemistry under Dr. Philip P. Power. She has been working as a research Chemist for the Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake since 2020. Her expertise is in synthetic inorganic chemistry but she has been an LAPD Criminalist, and an FBI Special Agent. Outside of the laboratory, she is a powerlifter and enjoys working on cars and motorcycles, and playing World of Warcraft and Zelda games. She is currently trying to teach herself how to play the banjo.  

burning building icon  MAKING CA SAFE (TUE • JULY 20)

 

Catherine ChenCatherine Chen

Catherine Chen graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with her Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering in 2010 and received her master’s in Civil Engineering in 2012 from the University of Southern California.  She has been working as a Structural Engineering Associate for the City of Los Angeles Permit and Engineering Bureau since 2014.  Her expertise is in the field of structural engineering.  As a plan check engineer, she verifies architectural, civil, and structural plans are in compliance with local/state codes and laws.  She enjoys spending time with her husband exploring the neighborhood, and having friends over for board games.  

brain icon  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 22)

 

Michelle EspetiaMichelle Espitia

Michelle Espitia graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with her Bachelors of Science in Engineering Management (Industrial & Systems Engineering) and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management in 2015. She has been working as a Productivity & Collaboration Lead since 2015 for Johnson and Johnson. Her expertise is in bringing new solutions to life using technology.  In her role, she enables her employees to make the best use of their existing technology (or bring in new technologies) to collaborate with one another and be as productive as possible in their day-to-day activities. Michelle enjoys traveling, learning languages, and spending time with family and friends.

building icon WHAT MAKES A CITY RUN? (TUE • JULY 13)

 

Blanca HerreraBlanca Herrera, P.E

Blanca Herrera graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Civil engineering in 2015 and received her master’s in Civil Engineering in 2019 from the University of Southern California. She has been working as a Civil Engineering Associate since 2015 for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In her role, she responds to Power System emergencies such as flash floods and wildfires on which I assess damages, prepares engineering solutions, and conducts coordination with State and Federal environmental agencies for the design and construction of needed repairs, as a means to maintain the proper operation of such facilities.

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

Monica JacintoMonica Jacinto

Monica Jacinto is a Technical Fellow for Materials and Processes Engineering at Aerojet Rocketdyne and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Over her 30 year career, she has led many diverse R&D teams in the pursuit of innovative materials for rocket engines. Monica is the co-inventor of a high-strength and burn-resistant alloy designated MondaloyTM, which is currently being used on the company’s Russian replacement engine. She mentors the next generation of engineers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and speaks at high schools, universities and career conferences for young students. Monica was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She received a B.A. and B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from Columbia University, New York and an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

Maribel JaquezMaribel Jaquez, Ph.D.

Maribel Jaquez received the B.S. degree from the University of California (UC), Irvine, in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. She received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley, both in Mechanical Engineering. Her work focuses on the synthesis and characterization of semiconductor materials. She is currently a Principal Engineer in the Microelectronics Semiconductor Materials Department at the Northrop Grumman Corporation. As a graduate student, Maribel participated in a summer internship at Intel Corporation, where she used various X-ray scattering techniques to support the research and development of Intel’s semiconductor technologies. Maribel received the Robert N. Noyce Memorial Fellowship in Microelectronics and the National Science Foundation Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship, which helped fund her graduate studies. Maribel Jaquez has been involved in numerous outreach and mentoring events, including co-founding the first Bay Area Graduate Pathways to STEM (GPS) conference in 2015.

leaf icon  ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (WED • JULY 21)

 

Lucy LabruzzoLucy Labruzzo

Lucy Labruzzo leads the Energy Infrastructure Sector of Cordoba Corporation. Lucy joined Cordoba in 2014 and has since successfully led the expansion of their energy business into gas and electric transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and program management across each of California’s investor-owned utilities.

Lucy is a Mechanical Engineer and Certified Energy Manager with 30 years of experience working with utilities across the US and  Canada,  including energy efficiency, power generation – nuclear, gas, and renewable energy – as well as electric and gas transmission and distribution infrastructure projects. She has been responsible for managing the development, design, construction, commissioning, and funding of billions of dollars of major energy infrastructure projects throughout North America utilizing numerous creative project execution strategies.

Prior to joining Cordoba Corporation, Lucy held an executive position at a large global infrastructure firm, where she led their North America Energy Business. She began her professional career as an engineer for the New York Power Authority, one of the nation’s largest state public power organizations.

burning building icon  MAKING CA SAFE (TUE • JULY 20)

 

Luz RabeloLuz Rabelo

Luz Rabelo has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from California State University, Los Angeles.  She is also a registered professional engineer in the State of California.  Upon graduating, she worked in the private sector, completing design work for various improvements in the Los Angeles County Metro Bus Facilities.  Following that, she worked as a Water Resource Control Engineer for the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she oversaw the assessment and clean-up of multiple contaminated sites within Los Angeles County.  Currently, she is working as a Civil Engineering Associate with the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, where she does construction management for various projects, including the mayor's A Bridge Home program, constructing shelters to house the homeless in Los Angeles.  Luz is currently married and is a mother of two. 

cog and wires icon  SOFTWARE + ELECTRICAL ENGR (THU • JULY 15)

 

Scarlett RamirezScarlett Ramirez

Scarlett Ramirez graduated from Cal State LA with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2013. Her senior year, she completed a year-round internship with Southern California Edison Utility Company. Upon graduation, she began a full-time position with Southern California Edison (SCE) as a Power System Engineer. In 2016, Scarlett received a Master’s of Science degree from Cal State LA in Electrical Engineering. Scarlett has worked as a Power System Engineer since 2013 and was responsible for modeling the entire SCE electric grid using a proprietary computer program. In 2020, she became an Engineering Manager and is responsible for the Power System Advanced Applications team at SCE. This past year she became a mother of a sweet little boy who is the light of her life. Family is her number one priority, and she loves to travel.

brain icon  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 22)

 

Ana SantosAna Santos

Ana Alyeska Santos works as an Engineer II in Biosense Webster, Inc. (BWI), a medical device company under Johnson & Johnson. Yeska received her bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona in May 2019. 

burning building icon  COMPUTER SCIENCE IS DIVERSE (MON • JULY 19)

 

Angelica SippelAngelica Sippel

Angelica Sippel is a computer scientist at Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific. Going into college, she had no idea what computer science was, but stumbled upon the major thanks to a friend of hers and fell in love with the challenges that the subject provided. Later in her academic career, she was accepted into the Scholarship for Service program funded by the NSF and graduated with her B.S. in computer science, a minor in mathematics, and a concentration in information assurance and security from Sacramento State University. In addition to being a STEM Professional, she enjoys playing video games, playing with her dog, escape rooms, and board games.

robot head icon  ROBOTICS (WED • JULY 14)

 

Diana ToscanoDiana Toscano

Diana graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. She has been working as a System Integration Engineer since 2021 for General Motors. Her expertise is in Embedded Software and Algorithm design. In her role, she is responsible for testing software features and writing requirements. She enjoys baking, cooking, crocheting, and spending time with family.

building icon WHAT MAKES A CITY RUN? (TUE • JULY 13)

 

Michelle Tovar-MoraMichelle Tovar-Mora, MS, EIT

Keeping the lights on for an entire city is something that is often taken for granted. Mrs. Tovar-Mora’s great passion for making a significant impact has led her to be part of the largest municipally-owned utility in the nation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), doing her part to provide reliable and sustainable energy to the community. Her career in the utility industry began as a Staff Mechanical Engineer at ASWB Engineering; a woman-owned and operated consulting engineering firm. However, her passion for inspiring women engineers began in college, where she held multiple leadership roles in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Society of Hispanic Engineers and Science Students (SHPE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Engineering, Computer Science and Technology Student Council (ECST). These leadership experiences helped launch her engineering career with an internship at the City of Santa Ana. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Her future educational and professional goals are to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and become a Licensed Professional Engineering in the state of California.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her son, planning vacations with her husband, and participating in STEM outreach for students. Michelle believes that “with dedication and self-motivation, anything is possible.”

materials science icon  MATERIALS SCIENCE (FRI • JULY 16)

 

Emily Anne VargasEmily Anne Vargas

Emily Anne Vargas is a Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California (USC), where she is working on the process-structure and structure-property relationships for Ceramic Matrix Composites. Emily Anne is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, GEM National Consortium Fellow, and USC Viterbi Graduate Fellow. She received her M.S. in Materials Science in May 2020 from USC and her B.S. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in May 2017 from Florida State University (FSU). Prior to starting her Ph.D., she worked for the Boeing Company as a Product Development Materials Engineer and the Eaton Corporation as an R&D Composites Engineer. She’s been a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers since 2013 and has been involved on the local, regional, and national levels through multiple leadership positions. Originally from Miami, FL, she comes from a family of Cuban immigrants and is proud to be not only a first-generation college graduate but also the first engineer in her family.

brain icon  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 22)

 

Kimberly VenturaKimberly Ventura

Kimberly Ventura graduated from Cal State LA with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. She works as a product manager for Gregorius Pineo. Her expertise is in product development. Kimberly enjoys playing video games with friends and taking her dog on adventures.

 

Student Speakers

cog and wire icon  SOFTWARE + ELECTRICAL ENGR (THU • JULY 15)

 

andrea allenAndrea Allen

Andrea Allen graduated with her Bachelor's in Mathematics from Oberlin College in 2017. She is currently working on her Master's in Complex Systems and Data Science at the University of Vermont. Her focus is in disease modeling and network science. Between her bachelor's and master's degrees, she worked for 3 years as a Software Developer at ThoughtWorks in New York City, working on a range of projects spanning healthcare, finance, and the power grid. She enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her family and her dog.

cog and wire icon  SOFTWARE + ELECTRICAL ENGR (THU • JULY 15)

 

Natalie DeoNatalie Deo

Natalie Deo graduated from Cal State LA through the Early Entrance Program with her Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering at 19; she is currently working on her Masters of Science in Astronautical Engineering at USC.  She previously interned at Northrop Grumman and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and she is currently interning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Systems Testbed Engineer Intern.  Her expertise is in Computer Engineering with Space.  Natalie enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time, watching sitcoms, and sharing her experiences on social media.

leaf icon  ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (WED • JULY 21)

 

Saron GebreslassieSaron Gebreslassie

Saron is an undergraduate student at Cal State LA graduating in May 2022 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. She is now interning at John Deere as a supply management intern this summer. Her expertise is in material engineering and product engineering. She has plans to pursue a graduate degree in Materials Science. Outside of school she enjoys discovering new places in her city.

robot head icon  ROBOTICS (WED • JULY 14)

 

Sidra GibeaultSidra Gibeault

Sidra Gibeault graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2020, with minors in Physics and Mathematics. She began her studies as an Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. student in the following semester at the University of Maryland, College Park. She works as a teaching assistant while doing research in the area of Computer Architecture. She enjoys reading books, building robots, and spending time with her cats.

computer icon  COMPUTER SCIENCE IS DIVERSE (MON • JULY 19)

 

Allieanna ShermanAliannea Sherman

Aliannea Sherman graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry in 2019.  She is working on her Masters of Science in Computer Science and plans to graduate Spring 2022. This summer she is working as an Analyst Intern/ Software Engineering Intern at American Express. Her expertise is in databases, software architecture, and web development.  She also worked as a student assistant web developer at Cal State LA library in Spring 2021. She enjoys swimming, biking, roller skating, video games, and comedy shows.

Keynote Speaker and Boeing Panel

space ship icon  KEYNOTE SPEAKER & BOEING: BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER (MON • JULY 12)

 

susan donizSusan Doniz

Susan Doniz is the chief information officer (CIO) and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics at The Boeing Company. She leads all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics for the world’s largest aerospace company. She also supports the growth of Boeing's business through IT- and analytics-related revenue-generating programs

Prior to joining Boeing in May 2020, Doniz was the Group CIO of Qantas Airways, where she focused on expanding the airline’s digital ecosystem and adopted new technology to support the needs of the business and its customers.

Previously, during a 17-year career at Procter & Gamble, she led IT programs in support of the supply chain, research-and-development and sales, as well as a cross-functional program to digitize the company. She’s also worked at SAP and Aimia. At SAP, she was a strategic advisor to the Global CEO on transformation and technology issues in support of customers.

Doniz has been a champion and self-starter of a variety of diversity networks for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as for Hispanics in business leadership. In 2012, she was named as a national diversity champion in Canada. She has been a board member of multiple non-profit organizations including The Women’s College Hospital Foundation, Salvation Army, and Engineers without Borders.

She serves as an advisor to the Center for Digital Transformation at the University of California, Irvine, and vice chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association. In 2011, she was named one of Canada’s most powerful women by WXN.

An honors graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in Engineering, she has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Spain, most of the countries in Latin America and the United States. Her first language is Spanish, which she speaks at home with her family. She also is fluent in French and English.

space ship icon  BOEING: BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER (MON • JULY 12)

 

Justene Noelle KarimiJustene Noelle Karimi

Justene has over 10 years of engineering experience. She worked in Civil Engineering after earning her Bachelor of Science degree. Today, she’s been at Boeing for 8 years where she has experience in Certification, Customer Support Stress Analysis and Service Engineering, the Aircraft on Ground (AOG) support team, and was recently promoted (right before the COVID19 outbreak in 2020) to lead a Mechanical & Structural Engineering Modifications team.

Justene holds a BS degree in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine and MS degree in Product Development Engineering from USC.

space ship icon  BOEING: BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER (MON • JULY 12)

 

Jomya LeiJomya Lei

Jomya is a Lead Hardware Engineer and Integrated Product Team Lead for multiple products for satellites.  She is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and test of space-qualified hardware ranging from non-flight research & development products to flight-ready products.  

Jomya started at Boeing after graduating from Caltech with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Chemistry and later received a MS in Electrical Engineering from USC through Boeing’s Learning Together Program.  In her spare time, she is a member of SSPI-WISE (Space and Satellite Professional International – Women In Space Engagement), a grantmaker for Boeing’s Employees Community Fund supporting non-profits, and a semi-professional taiko drummer.

space ship icon  BOEING: BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER (MON • JULY 12)

 

Diana B. LopezDiana B. Lopez

A first-generation college graduate, Diana Lopez grew up in modest circumstances and dreamed of financial independence.  Earning a bachelor’s degree would end up being the path she’d take to reach her dreams.

“I did well in school, but even in my senior year, I didn’t really know what to do.  I had been working a full time job since the age of 16 yrs. and I knew then that I’d need more than high school to be fully independent.”  A college counselor at John C. Fremont High School in South Los Angeles spoke to Lopez about attending college and suggested she try engineering.

She applied to California State University-Los Angeles and was accepted into the Electrical Engineering (E.E) program.  After three years, Lopez was offered the Dean’s scholarship to transfer to the University of Southern California where she completed her studies and earned her E.E Bachelor of Science degree in 2003.  In 2012 Lopez earned a master’s degree in Information Systems Technology from Claremont Graduate University. Between 2003 to the present Lopez has continued her educational development and earned additional leadership, project and program management and technical certificates.

Lopez joined Boeing as an intern and became a full-time employee upon graduation. Lopez has worked on several programs: the Future Combat Systems program and Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Communications Network in system engineering roles; the Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) program as Communications and Networks Systems Engineer; the Joint Tactical Radio System Enterprise Network Manager (JENM) program working on Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) Integration and Test and Software Development. On JENM, Lopez worked closely with government and  Army customers to help them prepare and troubleshoot their Network Integration Evaluation field exercises.  Lopez also worked as a network designer in the Information Technology – Core Infrastructure services group where she led a team that provided support to more than 10,000 applications operating across Boeing. Most recently she became a manager and in addition to managing a team that supported a variety of Acoustics projects, had the opportunity to work and travel to Japan on an international assignment.  Lopez now works in the Maritime Undersea Platform Programs office with a variety of responsibilities spanning across multiple program functions.

Lopez married her high-school sweetheart and they have 15-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. Lopez has been and continues to be active with STEM programs. In her spare time, Lopez enjoys spending time with her family, boogie boarding, working out and most recently learning about real estate investments.

space ship icon  BOEING: BUILDING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER (MON • JULY 12)

 

Kia Lorece SmithKia Lorece Smith

Kia L. Smith is s Senior Project Engineer at The Boeing Company in El Segundo, California. She is responsible for production and integrations of cool products such as satellites, space vehicles and more. Kia has held management and engineering roles at The Boeing Company, Eaton Aerospace Corporation and Raytheon.

Prior to her current Program Manager II role, Kia was a Senior Product Test Engineer in Jackson, Mississippi. Kia was previously a professor in the Mathematic Department at Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan as well as is a volunteer Self-Esteem and Confidence speaker through the Multicultural Relations Department at Jackson College.

Kia holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and Minor in Mathematics from HBCU Southern University, A&M College, where she was a NASA Scholar and a member of the Honors College. Kia also earned her Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management. She has worked with the following organizations: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), National Black MBA Association Inc. (NBMBAA), Women In Aerospace (WIA) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Kia is the author of the self-published book “How To Love Yourself” and has been active in pageantry for 6 years, holding the following titles: Miss Louisiana Plus 2010 and Miss Elegant U.S. United 2012. Kia was part of the Miss California Plus 2017 Team.  She has also volunteered as a pageant Coach as well as became a leader in the “#LoveYourself” movement in 2016. In Kia’s spare time, she loves to sing (especially in choirs), dance, and travel. Kia is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Our Sponsors

Boeing Global Engagement, Weingart Foundation, Aerojet Rocketdyne, LADWP, Jorge Ramirez & Catherine McAfee-Ramirez, MESA

Thank you to our supporters for making this program possible.
Boeing Global Engagement, Weingart Foundation, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), Jorge Ramirez and Catherine McAfee-Ramirez, Cal State LA MESA.

Contact Kevin Doody at [email protected] for sponsorship opportunities.

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Recognition

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LAunchPad In The News

The Cal State LA LAunchPad program has been featured on various news networks for teaching high school seniors the principles of science, physics, engineering and helping to put college and career decisions in perspective. Watch and read first-hand what students got out of their LAunchPad experience.

 
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Research Shows Results

Study revealed that after participating in LAunchPad, the student's interest in pursuing an engineering or computer science career increased by 29%.

Apply to Launchpad

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We're thrilled you're interested in the Cal State LA College of ECST LAunchPad program and are looking forward to welcoming you to the engineering and computer science community! Submit your application for an exciting summer experience where you will explore, discover, and launch your future! Contact Thelma Federico for more information about the LAunchPad program or questions about the application.

At this time the application for LAunchPad 2021 has closed.  LAunchPad eligibility and requirements for LAunchPad 2022 will be available in Spring 2022. Thank you for your interest in LAunchPad

 

MEET THE STAFF

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Reach out! We want to hear from you.

Interested in applying to LAunchPad? Do you have questions about the program, application, or schedule? Contact Thelma Federico or Adriana Tellez-Andrade. We're here to help.

daniel galvan thelma federico andrea tellez-andrade

Dr. Daniel Galvan
Director, Acceleration Initiatives
and Student Engagement
[email protected]

Thelma Federico
Director, ECST Outreach,
Acceleration Initiatives
and Student Engagement
[email protected]

Adriana Tellez-Andrade
Coordinator, ECST Outreach,
Acceleration Initiatives
and Student Engagement
[email protected]

For more information about the College of ECST Acceleration Initiatives or the LAunchPad program, please contact Dr. Daniel Galvan, Director of Acceleration Initiatives and Student Engagement [email protected].

Learn About ECST

ECST students and alumni

Commit to Excellence. Engage with Community

Welcome to the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) at Cal State LA! At ECST, students, faculty, alumni, and industry partners alike are engaging with our communities and empowering each other to share, connect and thrive.

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Cal State LA, College of ECST, LAunchPad Summer Program
5151 State University Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90032