Taking what he has learned to the final frontier
“UE has become the portal to so many opportunities that I would have never been exposed to anywhere else.”
Class of 2015 Major: Mechanical Engineering and Physics
To UE and Beyond
For years, UE student Darwin Cordovilla of Ambato, Ecuador, has been fascinated with space exploration. The physics and mechanical engineering major dreamed that he would someday work for NASA. That dream came true as a result of the networking opportunities available at the University of Evansville.
“An important aspect of the education at UE is the emphasis on professional networking,” Darwin said. “Thanks to this emphasis, I was able to get an internship at NASA by connecting with an alumnus who is now a project manager there.”
Out of This World Experience
Cordovilla was assigned to the magnetospheric multiscale mission (MMS) project during his internship. MMS, he explained, involves “making sure satellites don’t get too hot or too cold. The satellites have electrical boxes with science experiments. The goal of this project is to find a way to keep them from being damaged by solar storms.”
As a result of the connections he made at NASA, Darwin was able to land an additional summer research project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Working with the Faculty
While he is grateful for gaining such valuable, hands-on experience through his internships, Cordovilla says his most rewarding experience as a UE student is the interaction he has had with faculty. He speaks highly of professors in both of his two very demanding majors.
“I know I’m not the first one to say that Dr. Mark Valenzuela is a great professor,” Darwin said. “In fact, he is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He really cares about his students learning the material. His classes are entertaining because he is a communicator and knows his material really well. He is just an overall well-rounded professor.”
Jeffrey Braun, PhD, professor of physics, has been a largely influential professor for Darwin as well. “He has inspired me to want to pursue physics as a career,” he says. “His patience and incredible dominance of physics have inspired me to take almost all courses he teaches at UE.”
A Portal to a Bright Future
Overall, Darwin says he owes the University of Evansville a lifetime of gratitude. “UE has become the portal to so many opportunities that I would have never been exposed to anywhere else.”