Mario Moreno

Major: Electrical Engineering


Where is your hometown?

Union City, California

What are you studying at UCSB and why are you interested in it?

I am studying electrical engineering.  I worked on electricity systems on planes and I thought if I majored in it, it would help me get a job in the field.

How did you hear about the program?

I heard about the program through Maria who thought I interested because I'm a veteran.  I knew her from a previous internship I had done. 

Tell me about your experience in PIPELINES.

At first I was hesitant to apply because being a veteran.  I thought I was done with the Navy, but Maria encouraged me to apply. As soon as I started the internship, I had a great mentor named Bradley.  He was immediately super involved in our group.  The people there were great; I had a really great experience

How did Bradley contribute to your PIPELINES experience?

His mentor ship made all the difference. You could tell he was really invested in myself and the two other guys in the group working on the project.  We went through the internship, and he pushed us but also gave us freedom so we were the ones actually doing the work.

What are you most proud of from your experience in PIPELINES?

I keep in contact with Bradley since I want to pursue engineering after I graduate.  He emailed me the other day saying he presented the project we worked on during my time at PIPELINES to a group called DARPA, a group that funds defense projects.  Our project ended up getting more funding!  But I have to say the coolest thing that came out of PIPELINES for me is that the work that we did is going to be patented.  I am very excited about that.

What is something that surprised you about participating in PIPELINES?

The aspect I really enjoyed about working in PIPELINES was that even though my concentration was in electrical engineering, they did not pigeonhole me into that. I was given a problem and told to solve it—it did not matter that I was an electrical engineer.  They had mechanical engineers working on electrical projects and electrical engineers working on mechanical projects.  They had you solve real-world problems.

What did you want to be when you were younger? Is that still an interest of yours?

I am a nontraditional student—I have kids who are in grade school and I spent many years in the Navy.  I always thought I was going to be in the Navy and then retire, but my life took me in a different path and now I am an engineer.

What are your future plans?

I'm really leaning towards going back towards the Navy base, since they will take the 10 years I already spent in the Navy and apply that towards retirement.  My dream job would probably be working at SpaceX or Tesla, but I am leaning towards working in the government

Do you have any advice for people interested in participating in PIPELINES?

When PIPELINES advertises that they have an internship with the Navy, sometimes people are hesitant about it.  But I really want to emphasize that you should give it a chance because it is not what you would expect.  You have the opportunity to do participate in projects outside your concentration and I really liked that.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you and what do you like to do for fun?

I like to ride motorcycles, exercise, and coach my kids’ basketball teams.


The Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES) program is an exciting opportunity for science and engineering undergraduates to participate in an 8-week immersive experience, where teams of students compete in finding the most innovative and effective design solutions to real-world Naval engineering and science design projects.






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Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6105