Alan Escobar

Engineering Futures Scholar

Rising sophomore and Engineering Futures scholar, Alan Escobar, has always been inspired by space exploration. That inspiration is ultimately what led him to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, where he is majoring in aerospace engineering with a concentration in robotics.

“Being a part of something where I could design and help out people exploring space has always been a passion of mine,” Escobar said.

But as his Freshman year progressed, he found that aerospace engineering might not be the only path to get him where he wants to be with his career. Escobar is considering changing his major to mechanical engineering, not because a shift in interests, but because of the different job opportunities he will have in the other field.

“I really I have my whole sophomore year to decide because they run, like the same path,” he said, in terms of the initial required courses.

In addition to potentially exploring another major, Escobar is interested in joining the Sun Devil Satellite Laboratory (SDSL) his sophomore year. The SDSL is a student organization which allows members to learn about satellite technology in hands-on, applied projects.

Engineering studies aside, Escobar faced challenges similar to what all freshmen at ASU experience: longer study time and greater accountability. He lived off-campus, so time management in particular was an ongoing struggle his freshman year, as he had to account for the commute between Chandler and Tempe.

“I couldn’t always stay [on campus] as long as I wanted to stay there, because I had to always drive through the traffic back home,” Escobar said. And when going to school, sometimes leaving early wouldn’t be enough to avoid tardiness. “I’ll leave the house on time and everything, but just traffic or an accident happens; that’s another issue.”

But despite that adjustment, Escobar found encouragement in the peer mentor he was assigned through the engineering futures program. “He kind of inspired me to get more involved,” Escobar said.

Right now, Escobar is working with his mentor and a group of peers on an autonomous robot food-delivery project that they plan to show to the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a grant-funded network of faculty members who work to support engineering programs in schools across the nation, in hopes of getting the project implemented at ASU.

They originally began working on the robot over the summer during an engineering futures boot camp, where other groups developed different designs around the same concept.

To other engineering students persisting in the field and taking on projects of their own, Escobar said, “Sometimes, you kind of question yourself, if you should be in engineering. But for anyone that actually chose engineering and really liked engineering, should always just stick with it.” And, “Always go to tutoring. That really helps.”

By Summer Sorg, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
September 4, 2019