STEM Advisory Council


Hometown: Bakersfield, CA

Employer: Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)
Position: Mechanical Design Engineer

Alma Mater: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Degree: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
K-12 Education: Stockdale Christian School & Bakersfield Christian High School

What advice do you have for aspiring STEM professionals?

Find something you love to do that is useful (not video games) and develop your talent in that area. When I was kid, I loved fixing things. I'd fix radios, computers, desks - anything that was broken, I'd make a mission to fix, whether by looking up how on the internet or just by fiddling around. That developed into engineering. If something in science, math, or other subjects interests you, investigate it. Learn more! Explore! Mess around with stuff! Experiment! 

What interested you growing up?

When I was a wee little kid, I wanted to be a train engineer because I loved watching Thomas the Tank Engine. As I got older, I wanted to be a farmer, a fighter pilot, a policeman, and an architect at different times.


Hometown: Former Soviet Union

Employer: Kythera Biopharmaceuticals

Undergraduate Alma Mater: University of California, Davis

Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor of Science, Biotechnology

Postgraduate Alma Mater: University of California, Irvine 

Postgraduate Degree: Ph.D., Biomedical Science

What advice do you have for aspiring STEM professionals?

Our industry is growing tremendously and more talent and creativity is desperately needed.  Young investigators that are computer savvy, energetic, bold and creative can have profound, exciting and gainful careers and I would love to encourage more students to pursue this field.

What interested you growing up?

My interest in Biology began when I was about five years old growing up in former Soviet Union.  I used to smuggle little bugs and worms to my room and do little experiments with them causing significant distress to my mother. When I moved to the United States, I realized that my dream of becoming a biologist could be a reality.



Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Employer: Los Angeles City Fire Department

Position: Fire Protection Engineer Associate

Alma Mater: California State University, Los Angeles

Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering

What is your journey like as a professional engineer?

After graduation I worked for the City of Los Angeles - Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) where I helped reviewed large construction projects. I also worked for V&A, Inc. a civil and traffic engineering that focuses on building freeways, bridges and light passenger trains. As a V&A engineer I worked in the traffic division designing traffic signals, street lighting systems, and signing and striping plans for some of the area’s largest public works projects such as the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail, the Westside Subway Extension and the 6th Street Bridge Replacement Project. Currently I work for the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

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