By Alejo Navarro Goldaraz, Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Alejo Navarro Goldaraz loves helping people fix their bikes and enjoys spending time outside with friends and family.

Why did you choose to be an engineer?

I have always been a fan of taking on little projects to fix things around the house. Engineering to me is the process of figuring out why something is broken and trying to fix it!

I suppose the conclusion to this long-winded account of my introduction to engineering is that it has taught me how to think. Crucially, it has provided me with a toolkit that enables me to tackle problems that I would have never previously thought to be formally approachable. For that I am grateful, and I look forward to continue learning and seeking new ways to approach the next “why?” that I come across.

Growing up, my family would spend summer vacation in a house on a somewhat remote town in Uruguay. Until last year (2019), we had no WiFi and, to this day, the bandwidth isn’t strong enough to support a mildly healthy Netflix addiction, so we had to figure out other ways to spend time.

One of the projects I took on to spend time was building a small house in the forest next to our house. For the better part of three months my siblings and I would wake up every morning and look for the latest branches that had fallen off the trees that we could add to our house. Once the summer ended and I went back to Buenos Aires, I continuously tried to emulate the feeling of ‘building’ that I felt that past summer. That’s when I knew I wanted to study engineering.

I had no idea what exactly I was going to do next, but I knew I wanted to do my best to build something myself. So, as many often do, I turned to the internet for inspiration. That’s when I found the greatest collection of DIY YouTube videos to do anything you can think of. I started with 5 minute tutorials on how to properly replace a light socket, then a saga of 3 minute videos teaching you anything you might need to know to fix a bike and even ended up watching a 20 minute explanation on how to build and take care of your own home beehive. From that point onwards I have never stopped taking every opportunity that I can to build something new or fix something broken.

Engineering is not only duct tape and DW40 (although it might be a significant part of our home improvements); engineering is about having the curiosity and the discipline to wake up every morning to look for whatever (metaphorical) branches you can pick up and work on.

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