Published: Nov. 24, 2019

Why did you choose engineering at CU Boulder?

It was a combination of factors. Mainly, I was fascinated by the ongoing research projects on the design of smart materials at the Center for Aerospace Structures in the Aerospace Department. I also was surprised to learn that there are groups in other engineering departments focused on solving smart materials-related problems using different perspectives; which meant exposure to diverse, multidisciplinary but relevant research that would help me specialize in my field of interest. That, and living right next to the mountains, made CU a unique opportunity.

What does the #iLookLikeAnEngineer hashtag mean to you?

Diversity, inclusion, and sense of community.

What are three things that make you unique?

I grew up in a small beach town, but I dislike seafood. I'm a latino that doesn't dance salsa, and a grad student that doesn't drink coffee.

What are your career goals?

Rather than being part of a developed society, I want to transform the one I come from. Well aware that my presence will have a stronger impact on my country, I am determined to finish my PhD at CU and go back to Ecuador to be part of the team that will revolutionize higher education. I envision myself as a reformer in the role of a professor and researcher who will inspire future generations and turn the attention of different industries to the development of computational mechanics projects.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

Those who assert should prove.

What are your hobbies?

Biking, hiking, tennis, podcasts, hammock reading, and relatively recently, cooking.

What do you enjoy most about engineering?

The challenge of finding creative, but reliable and efficient solutions to seemingly trivial problems that turn out to be entire PhD theses.

What is your favorite engineering experience?

Once I had to design a biodigestor for a competition. I had a great time learning about topics that until then were extraneous to me.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Many things worth pursuing in life are achieved by following paths that tend to get worse before getting better. Just keep going!

Jorge Luis Barrera Cruz, Class of 2019, Aerospace Engineering
Salinas, Ecuador