LAunchPad

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Welcome to the Cal State LA, College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) LAunchPad Summer Program. LAunchPad is a two-week in-person (LP) and virtual (LPX) summer program at Cal State LAwhere you learn about the exciting ways engineers and computer scientists make the world a better place.

All Good News LAunchPad Summer Program at Cal State LA

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! The Summer 2023 program is from July 17 to 28

Submit your application for an exciting summer experience where you will explore, discover, and launch your future! Contact Adriana Tellez-Andrade for more information about the LAunchPad program or questions about the application.

Explore • Discover • Launch

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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

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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

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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 2023 Learning Facilitators

Rana Ashour
Shambhavi Bhandari
Stephany Carreno Portillo
roxana cruiz
Humayra_Rashid
Lisaben Patel
Rana Ashour
Studying: Computer Science
Shambhavi Bhandari
Studying: Computer Science
Stephany Carreno Portillo
Studying: Computer Science
Roxana Cruz
Studying: Computer Science
Humayra Rashid
Studying: Computer Science
Lisaben Patel
Studying: Computer Science

LAunchPad 2023

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Cal State LA's College of ECST has expanded our student reach by creating a virtual portion of LAunchPad (LP) called LAunchPad X (LPX)! The LP and LPX two-week Summer Program takes place in-person and virtually from July 17 - 28, 2023.

 

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 uses 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.

Environment Science Icon

Sustainable Energy

Ever wonder what makes the modern Hybrid and Fully-electric vehicles move? Discover how a fuel cell uses sustainable energy to power our vehicles. Learn to design, build, and solve energy-source problems.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

LAunchPad 2023 Kickoff!

  • Welcome
  • Housekeeping

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Industry Speakers

Boeing Speakers

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Break

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Faculty Speakers

Sustainable Energy

  • Chris Bachman, 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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

 

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Modeling and Simulation

Computer programing can be used in a wide variety of engineering disciplines. Aerospace engineers use it to model rocket trajectory; civil engineers use it to simulate flood frequency and intensity after a storm; biomedical engineers use it to understand complex systems at the molecular level! Let’s learn and discuss how modeling and simulation can be used in a variety of engineering topics. 

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Modeling and Simulation
  • Hot Topic: Identifying and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 
12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

GROUP A: Biomolecular

Negin Forouzesh, Ph.D. & Manveen Kaur, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Computer Science

GROUP B: Virtual Reality

David Krum, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Computer Science

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

Emerging Computer Science

Imagine Big with Computer Science

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. Faculty and industry professionals reveal how these powerful technologies surround us today and discuss how they might evolve in the future.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Imagine Big with CS
  • Hot Topic: Strategizing as an underrepresented student & professional

12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

  • GROUP A: Virtual Reality

    David Krum, Ph.D.
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Computer Science

    GROUP B: Biomolecular

    Negin Forouzesh, Ph.D. & Manveen Kaur, Ph.D.
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Computer Science

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

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A Helping Hand Through 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 biomedical engineering is applied to the medical field with Cal State LA faculty and Electrical and Biomedical Engineering college students during this event and then gain some practical experience walking through the design of a robotically controlled shower assist device.  Participants will have a chance to build and test circuits, electronically dispense shampoo, and control a robotic arm’s movement.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Biomedical & Electrical Engineering
  • Hot Topic: How to be Ally? 

12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

Biomechanics

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

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Futurathon Preparation in Makerspace

Learning Facilitator: Maria G.

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

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LAunchPad Tour

Embark on an extraordinary behind-the-scenes tour of select Universal Studios rides, where students delve into the captivating engineering behind the thrills and falls. Students will witness the intricate inner workings of these attractions, leaving with a newfound appreciation for the fusion of imagination and science that fuels the world of theme park engineering.  

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Field Trip: Universal Studios Engineering Tour

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

Week Two Schedule

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Design, Create, and Build Structures

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

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Design, Create, Build Structures
  • Hot Topic: Preparing for Industry 

12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

Structural Engineering

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

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

Aerospace and Manufacturing

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 - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Rocket and More!
     
  • Hot Topic: Leveraging Your Cultural Wealth
    Sonya Lopez, Ph.D.,
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Civil Engineering 
12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

Aerospace Engineering

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

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

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Water Purification

Learn how Civil and Environmental engineers are taking on the water crisis. In this activity, we will design, construct, and test a basic and inexpensive water filtration system (i.e., bios and filer) that can remove contaminants from dirty water and make it safe to use. We will learn the implications of the design parameters and how to optimize our design to achieve the best results. This system can be used in emergencies when there is no access to clean water.

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Water Unites Us 
     
  • Hot Topic: Navigating Boundaries in Predominant Male Field
    Sonya Lopez, Ph.D.,
    Cal State LA, College of ECST
    Department of Civil Engineering

12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

GROUP A: Civil Engineering

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

GROUP B: Aviation

Yilin Feng, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Technology

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

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Exploring the Skies
Unleashing the Power of Aerodynamics and Drone Technology

Embark on an exhilarating journey into the world of aerodynamics and drone operation as we bring you an immersive project designed to introduce high school students to the fundamental principles of flight and the thrilling realm of drones. This engaging endeavor aims to provide students with an understanding of aerodynamics, unraveling the mysteries of how air interacts with objects in flight. Through a combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experiences, students will have the opportunity to navigate both simulated and real drones, honing their piloting skills and witnessing firsthand the application of aerodynamics in action. By delving into the science behind drones and their operation, this project offers a captivating glimpse into the exciting possibilities and real-world applications of drone technology, empowering students to explore and embrace the ever-expanding frontier of aerial innovation. 

TIME PRESENTATION

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Industry Presentations
Hot Topics

  • Industry Presentation: Vast Opportunities in Engineering
  • Hot Topic: Networking with Professors & Professionals

12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Faculty Presentations

GROUP A: Aviation

Yilin Feng, Ph.D.
Cal State LA, College of ECST
Department of Technology

GROUP B: Civil Engineering

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

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Futurathon Preparation

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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 2023 faculty and Industry speakers.

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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 - 4:00 PM

Futurathon Presentations
Parent Live Stream

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Reception

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 2023 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

Environment Science Icon  SUSTAINABLE ENERGY (MON • JULY 17)

 

chris bachman Chris Bachman, Ph.D.

Dr. Chris Bachman graduated from UC Davis with his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Education from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. He has expertise in design and building, energy, vehicles, and electrochemistry, and is always looking to learn more. He directs the Makerspace at Cal State LA and advises several race car teams on campus. He loves spending time with his dog Windy, playing sports, being in the outdoors, and reading.

test 5  MODELING AND SIMULATION (TUE • JULY 18)
Emerging Computer Science  IMAGINE BIG WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE (WED • JULY 19)

 

negin farouzesh Negin Forouzesh, Ph.D.

Dr. Negin Forouzesh, tenure-track assistant professor in computer science at California State University, Los Angeles, is interested in teaching and research in computational sciences with applications in molecular biology. She applies high-performance computing, machine learning, and optimization algorithms to understand the structure and function of biomolecular systems. She was a biomedical research intern at Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM) in the summer of 2018 and a graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech Advanced Research Computing (ARC) in 2018-2019.

test 5  MODELING AND SIMULATION (TUE • JULY 18)
Emerging Computer Science  IMAGINE BIG WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE (WED • JULY 19)

 

 

Manveen Kaur Manveen Kaur, Ph.D.

Dr. Manveen Kaur is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at California State University, Los Angeles. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in 2012 and 2022 from Ohio State University and Clemson University, respectively. Between her M.S. and Ph.D., she spent over three years working as a Network Analyst in the media streaming industry. Her research expertise is in system engineering for emergent wireless systems, such as drone swarms and autonomous vehicle networks. She is currently designing and testing a framework that would allow a resource-limited drone swarm to cooperatively conduct compute-intensive tasks and “think intelligently” as a group. Outside her work, she enjoys literary fiction, art, running, and gardening.  

Emerging Computer Science  IMAGINE BIG WITH COMPUTER SCIENCE (WED • JULY 19)

 

david krum David Krum, Ph.D.

Dr. David Krum is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the California State University, Los Angeles. He directs the Experience Lab and co-directs INART, the Institute for Interactive Arts, Research, and Technology. His expertise includes human-computer interaction, virtual/augmented reality, and 3D interaction.

He previously worked at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, where he contributed to the development of low-cost virtual reality displays and researched new techniques and technologies for presenting immersive experiences. He also worked at a corporate research lab in Silicon Valley and as a software engineer at Motorola.

Dr. Krum earned a BS in Engineering and Applied Science from Caltech in 1994, an MS in Computer Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Georgia Tech in 2004. He enjoys collecting typewriters and old computing devices and spending time with his family.

test 4  WATER PURIFICATION (WED • JULY 26)
airport with airplane icon  SIMULATING AIRPORT OPERATIONS (THU • JULY 27)

 

sonya lopez Arezoo Khodayari, Ph.D.

Dr. Arezoo Khodayari graduated from Tehran University with her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2004 and from Sharif University of Technology with her Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in 2008. She received her second MS and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 2013, respectively. She has experience working in the energy and consulting industry and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with her students. She has expertise in developing sustainable engineering solutions for air and water pollution prevention and control, climate modeling, environmental sustainability, and energy-water-climate nexus. She is the Founding Director of the Environmental Sustainability and Pollution Control (ESPC) research lab and the Society of Woman Engineers (SWE) advisor. She loves spending time with her family, teaching, traveling to new places, and cooking.  

Aerospace and Manufacturing  AEROSPACE AND ROCKETS (THU • JULY 25)

 

mario lopez Mario Medina, Ph.D.

Dr. Mario Medina graduated from Bradley University with his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 2015 and received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2020. Mario started teaching at Cal State LA in August 2020, where he taught courses in fluid dynamics, energy systems, and propulsion systems. His expertise is in fluid dynamics, including spray physics applied in internal combustion engines. He enjoys learning new things and, most recently, is learning how to vermicompost for his balcony garden.

What makes a city run Icon  DESIGN, CREATE, BUILD STRUCTURES (MON • JULY 24)

 

maryam nazari Maryam Nazari, Ph.D.

Dr. Maryam 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, Dr. Nazari worked as a faculty member at a sister CSU, Fresno State, for four years. She 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 the economical, resilient, and sustainable design of civil infrastructures against seismic hazards.

test 1  BIOMEDICAL ANS ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 14)

 

curtis wang Curtis 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.

test 1  BIOMEDICAL ANS ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING (THU • JULY 14)

 

deborah won Deborah Won, Ph.D

Dr. Deborah Won graduated from Cal State LA with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2000 and received her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering in 2007. She worked as a research associate at USC’s Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center, where she bridged academic labs and industry partners in collaborative research on advanced packaging of implantable electronics as well as novel multi-input multi-output nonlinear models of neural information processing for neural prosthetic applications.  She has been teaching at Cal State LA in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department since 2009 and has a passion for getting students involved with collaborative engineering projects, especially those which will lead to improved medical technology and healthcare.  Outside of being a professor, she also loves playing sports, hiking, doing puzzles, playing music, and reading with her two sons and husband.

test 4  WATER PURIFICATION (WED • JULY 26)
airport with airplane icon  SIMULATING AIRPORT OPERATIONS (THU • JULY 27)

 

sonya lopez Yilin Feng, Ph.D.

Yilin Feng (she/her/hers) graduated from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics with her BS and MS in Aeronautical Engineering in 2014 and 2017, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Aviation and Transportation Technology from Purdue University in 2020. She is an Assistant Professor at Cal State LA and serves the Aviation Administration program in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology as an academic advisor. She has expertise in aviation technology, airport operation and management, airport finance, and aviation education.  

 

 Vast Opportunities in Engineering (WED • JULY 20)

 

Adriana Aldana

Adriana Aldana a Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering Graduate from Cal State LA. Upon graduation I plan on working full time as a mechanical engineer with Raytheon Technologies where I will also be pursing my master’s in systems engineering at UCLA. During my time at Cal State LA, I worked a lot with MESA as a student leader, avid volunteer, and mentor. My passion for engineering began in high school where I participated in the MESA program and began the robotics team.

 Biomedical and Electrical Engineering (THU • JULY 14)

 

Illary Archilla

Illary Archilla holds a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad La Salle, Mexico, and an M.S in Mechanical Engineering from California State University Long Beach. She has over 16 years of experience working as an engineer, project, and construction manager in the automotive, manufacturing, energy, and transportation sector.

Illary is the President and CEO of Terravanta, a professional services consulting firm. She enjoys educating young leaders in sustainability and project management in addition to doing outdoor activities such as road cycling, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and traveling.

 Design, Create, Build - Structures (MON • JULY 18)

 

Laura Basualdo

Laura Basualdo came to the US in 2003, right after graduating from high school in Argentina. When she arrived in LA, she started taking classes at Cerritos College. In 2006 she transferred to UCLA, graduating with her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 2008. Laura got her Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 2010. Since then, she has worked at Degenkolb Engineers as a Structural Engineer. Her current position is Associate. Laura is very active in the ACE mentorship program, where she enjoys mentoring high school students in engineering.

 Imagine Big with Computer Science (WED • JULY 13)

 

Krystal Bernal

Krystal Bernal graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics in 2020. She began working as a Data Platform Developer at The Aerospace Corp in 2020 and recently changed positions to Flight Simulation Engineer. Her expertise is in physical computing. She enjoys spending time doing home improvement projects, working on her 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet, binging tv shows, and recently started playing Pokemon Snap.

 Boeing (MON • JULY 11)

 

Nicole Carpentier

Nicole Carpentier received her Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2014.  She received her Master of Science in Materials Engineering from UCLA in 2020.  She works for Boeing in Satellite Systems and is a Component Evaluation & Failure Analysis (CEFA) Team Lead.  She has worked for The Boeing Company since 2018.  In 2022 she was named The Boeing Company, Engineer of the Year.  Her expertise is in solder alloys, metallurgy, and analysis of fractured materials.  In her role, she leads a team of 8 engineers working on problem-solving when electronics fail during testing hardware for satellites and other space and launch vehicles.  Nicole enjoys biking, rock climbing with her fiancé, and painting Disney characters in her free time.  

 Boeing (MON • JULY 11)

 

Tikel Davis

Tikel Davis received her Bachelor of Science in industrial technology, management, and applied engineering from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2018 and her Masters of Science in Business Administration- International Business from John Brown University in 2021.  She is currently working at Boeing as an Operations Quality Engineer III since 2022. Her expertise is in quality management systems and engineering processes.  In her role, she is responsible as a quality engineer for the mechanisms and electronic products. In addition, she enjoys volunteering in the community and cooking/hosting my friends and family.

  

 Imagine Big with Computer Science (WED • JULY 13)

 

Katia Estabridies

Katia Estabridis earned her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.  She is the Director of the Autonomy Research Arena (AuRA) at the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake, CA.  She leads the AuRA team on several basic and applied research projects, including advanced signal processing, machine-learning techniques, optimal control-based mission planning algorithms, and reactive planners for multi-vehicle systems. In addition, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending time with her family.

 Vast Opportunities in Engineering (WED • JULY 20)

 

Dawn Harms

Dawn Harms is currently the Chief Revenue Officer at Momentus Inc, a U.S. commercial space company that offers in-space transportation for small satellites and hosted payload services. A proven leader in the global satellite and launch services industry, Ms. Harms formerly served as Momentus’ interim Chief Executive Officer before it became a public company. She was previously the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Boeing Satellite Systems International and has held executive positions at International Launch Services (ILS) and Space Systems Loral (now MAXAR). She received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has long served on their engineering advisory boards. Ms. Harms currently serves on ManSat Limited and Kleos Space’s board of directors. In addition, she is chairwoman emeritus of the industry’s largest networking organization, Space and Satellite Professionals International, and was honored as Mentor of the Year in 2020.

 Modeling and Simulation (TUE • JULY 12)

 

Julianna Hernandez

Julianna Hernandez graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical engineering in 2022.   She works as a Mechanical Engineering for the NAVSEA Warfare Centers.  Her expertise is in mechanical engineering and managing computer systems.  She is the Subject Matter Expert for three computer processing systems which require her understanding of computer components and the impact on them caused by shock and vibration simulations.  In her role, she oversees the writing, reviewing, performing, and approving of drawings, procedures, and CAD models related to the systems she works with.  Julianna enjoys spending time with her loved ones, especially her little brother, and going to concerts.

 Water Units Us (TUE • JULY 19)

 

Blanca Herrera, P.E.

Blanca Herrera, P.E. graduated from Cal State LA in 1014 with her BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Civil Engineering in 2018 from the University of Southern California.  She has worked for the Department of Water and Power as a Civil Engineer for the past seven years.  Her expertise is in engineering support to Power System facilities in design, construction, and inspection as a means to maintain the proper operation of such facilities.  In her role, she responds to Power System emergencies such as flash floods and wildfires caused by a natural disaster, assesses damages, prepares engineering solutions, and coordinates with State and Federal environmental agencies to design and construct needed repairs.

 Biomedical and Electrical Engineering (THU • JULY 14)

 

Oumou Kalsoum Mbacke

Oumou Kalsoum Mbacke graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Columbus University in May 2022.  She works for Mckinsey & Company as a Digital Business Analyst

since September 2022.  Her expertise is in Biomechanics, Tissue Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and business.  In her role, she manages a team of 20+ employees at a cutting-edge restaurant and monitors the planning and budgeting process of the start-up on a continual basis. Devise new strategic plans and policies to inform market expansion and business decisions leading to an increase in customer retention rate six months after launch.  Supervise the financial consultant team to set a minimum cash threshold to meet operational needs.  She enjoys business, meeting new people, and TikTok.

 Modeling and Simulation (TUE • JULY 12)

 

Lory Nava

Lory Nava graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2019. She has been working as an Associate Engineer since 2019 for Southern California Gas Company. Her expertise is in project management, specifically in project development under the Construction department. Her role is to initiate and manage pipeline and valve projects by preparing/completing the necessary deliverables to begin construction. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé and relaxing at home watching her favorite shows.

 Water Units Us (TUE • JULY 19)

 

Silvia Perez

Silvia Perez graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1993 and received her MBA in Management and Organizational Behavior from Loyola Marymount University in 2009. She has been working for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California since 1991 in various positions of increasing responsibility, from Junior Engineer to her current role as Section Manager of Conveyance and Distribution, which covers water system infrastructure in most of Southern California. She has expertise in areas of power systems, manufacturing, and managing a large conveyance and distribution water system. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé and their grown kids and will soon become a grandmother.

 Design, Create, Build - Structures (MON • JULY 18)

 

Luz 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 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 and constructing shelters to house the homeless in Los Angeles.  Luz is currently married and is a mother of two. 

 Biomedical and Electrical Engineering (THU • JULY 14)

 

Scarlett Ramirez

Scarlett Ramirez graduated from Cal State LA with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2013. She completed a year-round internship with Southern California Edison Utility Company in her senior year. She began a full-time position with Southern California Edison (SCE) as a Power System Engineer upon graduation. In 2016, Scarlett received a Master 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 was 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.

 Aerospace and Rockets (THU • JULY 21)

 

Francis Samalot

Francis J. Samalot graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, in 2001.  She received her Masters of Science in Material Science and Engineering in 2004 and a Doctorate in Material Science and Engineering in 2007 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She works at The Boeing Company as an Associate Technical Fellow.  She has worked for Boeing since 2007.  Her expertise is in the development of new composite materials and processes for the aerospace industry. In her role, she has created new ways to assemble aircraft and developed several materials for space use.  Francis enjoys traveling and board games.

 Aerospace and Rockets (THU • JULY 21)

 

Maritza Sanchez

Maritza Sanchez graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 and received her Master’s in Materials Science and Engineering from UC San Diego in 2017. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UC San Diego in the Materials Science and Engineering program. Her research expertise focuses on developing cubic particle morphologies of ceramic materials for enhanced material properties. She enjoys paddle boarding, spending time with her dog, and dancing.

 Vast Opportunities in Engineering (WED • JULY 20)

 

Julia Sanchez de la Vega, P.E., ENV SP

Julia graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 with bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering and Spanish. She then began her career with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, where she has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge across many civil engineering disciplines. Her positions include Bureau Liaison to the Board of Public Works/City Council and the Valley District Office Public Counter supervisor. Recently, Julia served as one of the project/construction managers delivering the iconic $588M Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project. She currently manages the City's Sidewalk Repair Program, a $1.4 billion, 30-year program to fix sidewalks around the City and make them accessible to everyone. Julia is a past President of the American Society of Civil Engineers Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch.
 

 Boeing (MON • JULY 11)

 

Anita Sengupta

Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, commercial pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program. She has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 20 years.  Her career began with launch vehicles and communication satellites at Boeing Space and Communications. She then worked for NASA for 16 years, where her engineering projects included her Ph.D. research on developing the ion propulsion system for the Dawn Mission (currently in the main asteroid belt), the supersonic parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and the Cold Atom Laboratory an atomic physics facility on board the International Space Station.
 
After leaving NASA, she moved into the high-tech transportation sector and led the development of the Hyperloop as Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at Virgin Hyperloop, a ground-based transportation system that operates under vacuum and at jet aircraft speeds.
 
Her most recent entrepreneurial venture is as founder/CEO of Hydroplane Ltd., which is developing hydrogen fuel cell power plant technology for carbon emission-free aviation. Hydroplane is an awardee of two prestigious US Air Force Agility Prime contracts to develop the novel hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for a range of commercial and governmental use cases.

Dr. Sengupta is also a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California, where she teaches and is researching technologies for the human exploration of Mars, earth re-entry vehicles, and boom-less supersonic flight.
 
Dr. Sengupta received her MS and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. In her spare time, she is active in emergency service operations as a Captain and Mission Transport Pilot in the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol. In her free time, she is a member of the Caltech flying club and, working on her commercial rating, is a sports motorcyclist, scuba diver, mountain biker, professional public speaker, and science communicator.

 Design, Create, Build - Structures (MON • JULY 18)

 

Pranasha Shrestha

Pranasha Shrestha graduated from UCLA with her Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2016. Since then, she has been working at Clark Construction Group and is currently a Project Manager managing the new construction of a facade at an LAUSD High School in North Hollywood. Pranasha enjoys crafting and completing home improvement projects in her free time.

 Imagine Big with Computer Science (WED • JULY 13)

 

Jamilla Thomas

Jamilla Thomas graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in May 2021. She has been working with Rockwell Automation as a Technology Consultant since July 2021 but started interning with Rockwell Automation in May of 2019. In her role, she educates customers on Software products to ensure they can effectively work with their applications. She enjoys traveling and coaching gymnastics!

 Modeling and Simulation (TUE • JULY 12)

 

Yesenia Toscano Rojas

Yesenia Toscano Rojas graduated from Cal State LA with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering in 2014.  She has worked for General Motors and Karma Automotive and is now a Product Engineering-Military Group for Moog Aircraft. 

 Water Units Us (TUE • JULY 19)

 

Michelle Tovar-Mora, MS, EIT

Michelle Tovar-Mora graduated with her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State LA in 2013 and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State LA in 2015.  She has been working for the Department of Water and Power as a mechanical engineer for the past seven years.  Her expertise is in Operations Engineering, supporting reliability and economics.  Her role is to resolve logistical, operational, and business problems within operations to ensure the reliability of the electric grid and gas infrastructure while ensuring the most economical energy is provided to customers.

 Boeing (MON • JULY 11)

 

Melanie Weber

Melanie Weber received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. She currently works at The Boeing Company as a Structural and Mechanical Design Engineer; she has worked at Boeing since 2008.  Her expertise is in the interior design of human-rated spacecraft. In her role, she is responsible for most of the hardware within the CST-100 Starliner Crew Module, including the crew seats, crew supplies, emergency equipment, and integration of NASA Provided Cargo into the vehicle. She enjoys spending time at home with my cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and of course, my husband.

 Aerospace and Rockets (THU • JULY 21)

 

Angela Wu

Angela Wu graduated from Cal State LA with her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 and from the University of Michigan with her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. She is currently at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore. Her expertise is in computational modeling and experimental characterization of internal combustion engines. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and cross stitching.

 


Nicole Carpentier Nicole Carpentier

Nicole Carpentier received her Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2014.  She received her Master of Science in Materials Engineering from UCLA in 2020.  She works for Boeing in Satellite Systems and is a Component Evaluation & Failure Analysis (CEFA) Team Lead.  She has worked for The Boeing Company since 2018.  In 2022 she was named The Boeing Company, Engineer of the Year.  Her expertise is in solder alloys, metallurgy, and analysis of fractured materials.  In her role, she leads a team of 8 engineers working on problem-solving when electronics fail during testing hardware for satellites and other space and launch vehicles.  Nicole enjoys biking, rock climbing with her fiancé, and painting Disney characters in her free time.  

Tikel Davis Tikel Davis

Tikel Davis received her Bachelor of Science in industrial technology, management, and applied engineering from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2018 and her Masters of Science in Business Administration- International Business from John Brown University in 2021.  She is currently working at Boeing as an Operations Quality Engineer III since 2022. Her expertise is in quality management systems and engineering processes.  In her role, she is responsible as a quality engineer for the mechanisms and electronic products. In addition, she enjoys volunteering in the community and cooking/hosting my friends and family.

Anita Sengupta Anita Sengupta

Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, commercial pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program. She has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 20 years.  Her career began with launch vehicles and communication satellites at Boeing Space and Communications. She then worked for NASA for 16 years, where her engineering projects included her Ph.D. research on developing the ion propulsion system for the Dawn Mission (currently in the main asteroid belt), the supersonic parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and the Cold Atom Laboratory an atomic physics facility on board the International Space Station.
 
After leaving NASA, she moved into the high-tech transportation sector and led the development of the Hyperloop as Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at Virgin Hyperloop, a ground-based transportation system that operates under vacuum and at jet aircraft speeds.
 
Her most recent entrepreneurial venture is as founder/CEO of Hydroplane Ltd., which is developing hydrogen fuel cell power plant technology for carbon emission-free aviation. Hydroplane is an awardee of two prestigious US Air Force Agility Prime contracts to develop the novel hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for a range of commercial and governmental use cases.

Dr. Sengupta is also a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California, where she teaches and is researching technologies for the human exploration of Mars, earth re-entry vehicles, and boom-less supersonic flight.
 
Dr. Sengupta received her MS and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. In her spare time, she is active in emergency service operations as a Captain and Mission Transport Pilot in the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol. In her free time, she is a member of the Caltech flying club and, working on her commercial rating, is a sports motorcyclist, scuba diver, mountain biker, professional public speaker, and science communicator.

Melanie Weber Melanie Weber

Melanie Weber received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. She currently works at The Boeing Company as a Structural and Mechanical Design Engineer; she has worked at Boeing since 2008.  Her expertise is in the interior design of human-rated spacecraft. In her role, she is responsible for most of the hardware within the CST-100 Starliner Crew Module, including the crew seats, crew supplies, emergency equipment, and integration of NASA Provided Cargo into the vehicle. She enjoys spending time at home with my cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and of course, my husband.

Our Sponsors

Boeing Global Engagement, Universal Studios Hollywood, Aerojet Rocketdyne, LA Department of Water Power, CalStateLA MESA

Thank you to our supporters for making this program possible.
Boeing Global Engagement, Universal Studios Hollywood, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), 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%.

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 us. We're here to help.

andrea tellez-andrade

Adriana Tellez-Andrade
ECST Outreach Coordinator
MESA Director
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, at [email protected].

sonya lopez
daniel galvan

Sonya Lopez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Civil Engineering
Faculty Lead, LAunchPad

Daniel Galvan, Ph.D.
Director,
Acceleration Initiatives
and Student Engagement

[email protected] [email protected]

Learn About ECST

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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