Hello! My name is Edgar. I am a second year at Berkeley focusing primarily in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS). I was born in Spain on an island off the coast of Africa called Tenerife. I lived there for eight years and then moved to France with my dad due to job related reasons. Living in France was a completely new experience. Everything was new: the language, friends, culture, weather, schools, etc. Although it was a huge change for me at the time, I learned valuable life lessons and a new appreciation for different cultures. After living in France for just a year, my dad and I were on the move again. This time we were off to the United States, in particular Los Angeles. Fortunately, this time around, the transition was much easier. My dad and I have continued living in Los Angeles until recently when I went to Berkeley. Now my dad is kept company with my younger brother who is in sixth grade.
When I first moved to college I was worried about the transition. Like when I first arrived to France, many things changed from my home in LA. Fortunately, I was welcomed to a vibrant and caring community of students always eager to help and learn. Although I have only been at Berkeley for two years, these years have been great! And even with the wildfires, PG&E power outages and, now, coronavirus, these events have not prevented me from connecting with my peers and developing new friendships. In a short time, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing and passionate students and professors helping tackle emerging problems. These include, of course, climate change, but also others like renewables and sustainability among many others. Last summer, I had a similar experience as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In my summer research project I worked with the BICEP telescope team. Their goal is to measure the cosmic microwave background to learn more about the origin of our universe. In the team, I worked in the newly developed BICEP Array telescope which would eventually be sent to the South Pole. As one can imagine, numerous tests and checks must be performed before deployment, especially since once it is in the South Pole, it is extremely hard to reach, and the necessary tools and equipment might not be there. With this in mind, my task over the summer consisted of analyzing the magnetic shielding of the telescope. What started off as a simple task soon evolved and became my sole job. After ten weeks of data analysis, I was able to complete the project and present results to my mentor and colleagues. Overall, the experience strengthened not only my coding skills, but also my networking.
This upcoming summer, I was looking for a similar experience, but in industry instead of research. I did this because I wanted to better understand the difference between industry and research. As I searched for industry internship opportunities, I soon found out about Cal Energy Corps. I first heard about Cal Energy Corps in our Engineering newsletter. As I read more about their mission and job offers, I was instantly hooked. I strongly connected with CEC’s mission and partnerships with local companies to promote sustainability. Furthermore, as an EECS student, I wanted to find a place where I could flesh out my skills and apply my accrued knowledge over the years, much like in my last summer internship. PingThings, in particular, caught my eye. This was an unknown company to me before, but as I started researching what they did, I became more and more captivated. I was also very interested in the machine learning position. In the past two years, I have always been fascinated by machine learning and its potential. Hence, I saw this as a great opportunity to apply my skills in machine learning and learn more about it. Lastly, with almost all my family living in Spain, I was unsure whether I would be going over the summer to visit them, so having the flexibility of working online was a huge plus for me. All this led me to put PingThings as my number one position. In the next two months, I am hoping to better understand the difference between academia and industry, apply my programming skills to solve complex and challenging problems, and make long lasting friendships with those at Cal Energy Corps and PingThings.
Good luck everyone!
Edgar Hildebrandt Rojo