“I have always wanted to go into the aerospace industry,” said Luis Miramontes, “and when I heard there was a program that was created in the aerospace capitol, I felt like it was meant to be.”
Miramontes, a graduate of CSULB’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Degree Completion program in the Antelope Valley, currently works in his dream job as a Numerical Controls Programmer for Lockheed Martin, a highly technical position where complex theory meets hands-on aircraft design. When he enrolled in Fall 2013, Miramontes immediately began gaining the real-world experience he needed to prepare for his future job, with instructors who knew the subjects inside and out. For example, Miramontes remembers a class on MATLAB, a difficult computer programming lan-guage, being over his head at first. But the professional flight test engineer who taught the class showed students how the coding could be used to control an F-16 fighter jet.
“Because he worked at Edwards Air Force Base, the instructor gave us insights that made me more alert in class,” Miramontes explained. “From then on, I actually wanted to learn MATLAB, and it definitely psyched me up for the next two classes in Numeri-cal Methods and Control Systems. Had it been a professor without real-life applications, I might not have done as well as I did.”
During his senior year, Miramontes got even closer to the aerospace industry through a pair of intense design projects for NASA and the Air Force Research Labora-tory (AFRL). The organizations were in need of high-powered devices for jet engines and rockets, with detailed and specific capabilities. Working in teams, the students each grew into different roles on the projects, and Miramontes went in to Antelope Valley facilities almost every day to work on the lathes, mills, and 3-D printing machines. In doing so, he learned valuable lessons about group communication and working with different personalities. Eventually he had an epiphany.
“It didn’t hit me how fortunate I was to work on these two projects until I struck up a conversation with an engineering major from another campus,” Miramontes said. “She explained that her senior project only included an aircraft model, because funding wasn’t available for actual parts. I got to work on two projects with complete funding by NASA and the AFRL. It was something I had taken for granted until that moment.”
Miramontes’ hard work was soon noticed by industry professionals, leading to his interview with Lockheed Martin.
“I got my current position through my experiences as the lead manufacturer for my senior design project while in the program” he said. “Now, I get to deliver quality tools and parts that help build amazing aircraft, while supporting our country and the brave men and women who fight for it.”