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Jayro Ortiz-Ayala

Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering

Why UC Merced?

When I was attending high school, I had family members attending UC Merced and studying engineering. To me, UC Merced was one of, if not, the first choices for universities that I wanted to attend because I heard such great things about it. Also, UC Merced is a very diverse school and it has made me feel welcomed and part of its community as a student with a Latino background.

Why Your Major?

I chose to study Mechanical Engineering due to it being a very broad field. Mechanical Engineers need to study many topics from many specific engineering majors. To me, because it was difficult to choose one engineering practice to focus on, I chose to take an approach that would allow me to focus on different components relating to different engineering practices which is part of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. As for why I wanted to study engineering: I have always been interested in learning how things work, especially things people use like planes, rockets, cars, etc. Engineering allowed me to take my love of science, especially physics, and apply it to design, build, analyze, and improve systems to further technological advancements with the goal of learning more of what is unknown.

Inspiration and Mentors

In a non-personal sense, my biggest inspirations would be Issac Newton and Albert Einstein. Not only who they were and what they stood for but also what they accomplished. These people drove my love for science and engineering. Newton tried to explain the unknown but was limited by the materials of his time, so he invented what he needed to explain his thoughts (calculus). Einstein took what we knew and flipped it and has given us a new way of looking at reality (relativity). These two have taught me that if one does not have the tools to do what one wishes, one can create new tools and to not be afraid to think differently from others.
On a more personal note, I will always consider my parents and siblings as my biggest inspirations and mentors. My siblings, though they chose different paths than me, will always be an inspiration because they have supported me every step of the way, and they have managed to navigate through life and accomplish so much which I hope to do as well. My parents are immigrants and have sacrificed so much for me to be where I am. They gave up so much of what they knew and have worked in labor intensive jobs all my life to support me and my siblings to give us a better life. I hope that I can show them one day that it was all worth it and how grateful I am.

Memorable Academic Experience

A memorable academic experience of mine was my capstone project that I had in my fourth year (fall 2023 - spring 2024). This was memorable because it gave me a sense of what would be expected of me in the engineering industry. It sort of took me out of the classroom mindset and more a real world application mindset. This was memorable because it challenged me to apply all that I had learned in engineering to solve a real engineering problem.

What's Next?

After graduation, I plan to start a career in the aerospace industry because space is a personal interest of mine. I hope to one-day advance space exploration technologies. I also plan to potentially pursue a master's/PhD program with an emphasis in aerospace or mechanical engineering. I want to apply all of this experience to some real world engineering applications relating to space.

Anything else?

If anyone is interested in engineering, the number one piece of advice I can give is to be passionate about it. Passion is what gets you through difficult times. If you want to achieve your dreams, you need to want it more than anything else and be ready to give it all you've got.

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