Advancing San Diego Intern Spotlight: Kimberly Fajardo & Justin Skaggs, Aeromutable Corporation

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Kimberly Fajardo and Justin Skaggs, interns at Aeromutable Corporation. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Aeromutable Corporation develops low-profile and unintrusive technology capable of dynamically modifying the aerodynamic behavior of ground vehicles. Both Fajardo and Skaggs are graduating students at UC San Diego studying aerospace engineering and chemical engineering respectively.

Read on for more from Kimberly and Justin.

KF: Kimberly Fajardo

JS: Justin Skaggs

Tell us about yourself.

KF: My name is Kimberly Fajardo and my hometown is McFarland, California. Right after graduating from McFarland High School, I started attending UC San Diego, where I have been able to learn about cool topics like fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and propulsion. I am now in my final year of college and am looking forward to graduating in June 2021 with a major in aerospace engineering and a minor in mathematics. I chose engineering as my career path because I have always had an interest in STEM-related topics. In October 2020, I was offered an intern position at Aeromutable Corporation, and am currently working with them in improving the aerodynamics on semi-trucks and reducing their fuel consumption, which is awesome!

JS: I am currently attending UC San Diego and am a transfer student from Southwestern College. I was able to apply for the internship through an email I received through my school. I have been participating in research laboratories throughout my time at the university, and it was a great change of pace to get involved with an internship. It is a nice opportunity to be able to work for the internship along with schoolwork, since it keeps me busy and teaches me a lot about how to work in the professional world.

How has your experience in the Advancing San Diego Internship Program been, and what projects/assignments have been the most meaningful?

KF: Having the opportunity to be a part of the Advancing San Diego Internship Program with Aeromutable Corporation and directly with the CEOs, Sandy and David, has been such a unique experience. I have gained valuable skills that help make me a better professional. One of the projects that has been the most meaningful to me has been designing three different manifolds for the pneumatic system Aeromutable is working on. My designs began on paper and I eventually was able to create the 3D designs on SolidWorks, get them approved, and submitted for manufacturing. It was a challenging process, but mostly a rewarding experience to be able to make a design happen.

JS: It has been an amazing experience to work with Aeromutable. I have learned a variety of skills involving engineering around constraints, researching for possible solutions, and troubleshooting when a process is not working as expected. Reporting progress and results is also an essential skill and organizing your work so another person can pick up where you left off is important. The most important work I have done is working with a RaspberryPi, and it has taught me a lot about sensors and interfacing sensors with the digital world. I have gotten a lot of experience with coding and can certainly add this to my toolbox of skills.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?

JS: Working from home comes with a specialized group of obstacles. The access to tools and a workspace is limited, creating a time lag between some of the tasks I want to accomplish. The ability to catch up with coworkers in an instant is a benefit however, since meetings and updates can be done from home on the computer.

What advice would you give to high school students looking for a successful career in the local software industry? 

KF: Advice I would give to high school students looking for a career in any field would be to not be afraid of putting themselves out there and to start gaining experience early on in their career.

JS: Try every opportunity you have and keep doing what puts a smile on your face. It’s an amazing feeling to be excited to work, and there are a lot of jobs out there that can provide that happiness!

Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

Company contact info and additional information:

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