ME Alumni Shares His Experience as R&D Test Engineer at Northrop Grumman

Mechanical engineering alumni Bryan Calungcagin, now a research and development test engineer with Northrop Grumman, returned to campus Wednesday with some advice. All that theory in courses like power plant design, control systems, and finite element analysis? Students are actually going to need it once they start working in the engineering field.

“Everything you learn in school, you’ll use,” said Calungcagin, who graduated from CSULB in 2012 and is now working on his master’s degree in systems engineering at Loyola Marymount University.

Some other things also won’t change. Calungcagin said he’s transitioned from studying until “three or four in the morning” to troubleshooting projects late at night.

Calungcagin works in Northrop Grumman’s Area 67, and describes himself as a MacGyver. “We take a bunch of stuff, we whip it around, and we test it,” he said. “The freedom I have to engineer is incredible.”

His trajectory isn’t typical. Calungcagin said he spent several years working as an auto mechanic on race cars—satisfying his innate urge to take things apart—before he realized he wanted to be designing not swapping out broken parts.

He came to CSULB as a transfer student from Fullerton College. Unfortunately, he and other members of his graduating class faced dismal job prospects in engineering due to the recession. Calungcagin said he sent out about 1,000 resumes, then began attending job fairs asking employers what qualities they were seeking.

Today’s graduating students have many opportunities. “It’s a great time to be an engineer,” Calungcagin said. “Right now, the industry is exploding.”

In his sector alone, Calungcagin said Northrop Grumman is hiring 700 interns, who will have a chance at being hired for an entry-level job. The company looks for a GPA of at least 3.25 and experience with projects.

He encouraged students to think big. For example, a 3D printer with a robotic arm that can work in a vacuum could be used for manufacturing in clean rooms, printing parts to help astronauts with repairs, or colonizing Mars.

Engineering also requires some quick thinking. When he was presenting his senior design project, which involved building a fire protection system, they burned out the motor during the demonstration for the Fire Department. To get the demo back on track, a team member had to run to Home Depot and buy a new motor.

Calungcagin’s presentation was part of the COE Office of Professional Development & Internships’ Speaker Series, which provides students with advice on resume and networking, as well as perspectives of engineers working for various companies.

 

Engineering Distinguished Lecture Panel on the New Face of Engineering in 2030

Will artificial intelligence put people out of jobs? Is the idea of working for one company your entire career obsolete? Will the engineering field include previously underrepresented groups? And how important are so-called soft skills?

These are some of the questions tackled by the industry panel at Thursday’s Engineering Distinguished Lecture, which was timed to coincide with CSULB’s Imagine BEACH 2030 crowdsourcing campaign to examine the future. Continue reading “Engineering Distinguished Lecture Panel on the New Face of Engineering in 2030”

Northrop Grumman Holds Resume Workshop for Post-Military Students

Five veterans attend a resume workshopIf you’ve served in the military, you probably have a long list of accomplishments to include on your resume. But those acronym-rich descriptions can require some translating to make sense to civilian hiring managers.

On Monday, recruiters from Northrop-Grumman were at the CSULB College of Engineering to help veterans present their military experience in a way that  stands out for hiring managers going through stacks of resumes.

“The resume workshop for veterans offered tips on how to translate a military background to a civilian-friendly resume,” said Eddie Jimenez, a Northrop Grumman university relations specialist. “The idea is to help them create better resumes.” Continue reading “Northrop Grumman Holds Resume Workshop for Post-Military Students”

Turbine and Suspension Systems Take Top Awards at Engineering Expo

A locomotive suspension system for harsh environments was chosen as the most innovative and practical design and a turbine in-pipe system as the best design for sustainable and clean energy harvesting at the Engineering Innovation Expo Monday.

The showcase in the University Student Union included 22 Senior Design Projects from the CSULB Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department.

The pico hydroelectric turbine-in-pipe system uses excess pressure within residential-scale pipe systems to harvest electricity off-the-grid. The system consists of a reaction turbine, generator, and auxiliary electrical equipment. The electrical equipment is dependent upon the application which can include powering outdoor lights or charging small electronics. Additionally, the design of the system will keep the flow rate and pressure of the water entering the household in compliance with standards for potable water systems.

Team members include Cristina Azuara, Hope Daley, Elyssa Lawrence, and Daisy Zaragoza. Continue reading “Turbine and Suspension Systems Take Top Awards at Engineering Expo”

Sticking with STEM Means Limitless Possibilities for Future Careers

Panelists at the Science Extravaganza all had the same message for middle-school students: stick with STEM for a career with limitless opportunities.

Hosted by the CSULB chapter of MAES, the second annual event drew nearly 300 students from Perry Lindsey, Stephens, and Franklin Classical middle schools, as well as volunteers from The Aerospace Corp., Boeing, and other companies and student organizations.

“We need to help schools that serve underrepresented groups, and have limited funding and limited STEM,” said Anthony Ramirez, MAES CSULB Chapter Co-President and a CSULB aerospace engineering major. Continue reading “Sticking with STEM Means Limitless Possibilities for Future Careers”

Technical Seminar: Understanding the Flight of the Boomerang

Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Programs Hamid Rahai left, welcomes John Vassberg to CSULB.

Have you ever wondered how boomerangs fly? John Vassberg has. One of Boeing’s top aerodynamicists, Vassberg was at CSULB Friday to deliver one his most popular lectures—one that delves into the aerodynamic capabilities of a hunting tool developed by Aboriginal Australians thousands of years ago.

“It’s turned out to be a cult classic,” said Vassberg, who has given the talk in Paris and Brussels and at Caltech and University of Southern California. “Maybe I’ll teach you something so you’ll have something to do over the weekend,” he told faculty and students at the Spring Technical Seminar.

Now Technical Lead and Chief Aerodynamicist of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Advanced Concepts Design Center in Southern California, Vassberg did the research back in 2012 when he was asked to present at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) conference. Continue reading “Technical Seminar: Understanding the Flight of the Boomerang”

Boeing Technical Fellow to Discuss Boomerang Aerodynamics

Boeing Technical Fellow John Vassberg will discuss the aerodynamic characteristics and flight dynamics of boomerangs at the Spring Technical Seminar at noon on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Niggli Conference Center (ECS-312). Students and faculty are invited to attend.

Dr. Vassberg will explain how blade theory can be used to expand upon a basic aerodynamic model developed in the 1960s. The new aerodynamic model is coupled with a gyroscope model for rudimentary analyses. The approach has generated significant findings regarding the radius of a boomerang’s circular flight path, the required inclination angle of its axis-of-rotation, its trim state, as well as its dynamic stability. These discoveries provide a basic understanding of how the interplay between aerodynamic forces and moments, and gyroscopic precession combine to return the boomerang to its rightful owner by way of a circular flight path. Continue reading “Boeing Technical Fellow to Discuss Boomerang Aerodynamics”

How Automation Is Changing the World, and the Workforce

attendees at engineering lecture

At transportation terminals, automation is boosting productivity and creating safer work environments. In the medical device industry, it’s advancing product development and letting employees learn new technologies. And in aerospace, it’s leading to new manufacturing processes and a future age of autonomous aircraft.

At Thursday’s Fall Engineering Distinguished Lecture, representatives from all three industries shared how automation is changing the world—and the workforce.

“This is one of those topics that is very pertinent—automation, robotics, artificial intelligence—all the things we live with today,” said moderator Rolando Saldana, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm. “Going forward, we’re also seeing that industry is moving forward with automation. And these (speakers) are the folks who are putting together the systems.” Continue reading “How Automation Is Changing the World, and the Workforce”