A favorite poem of mine – one that I have on display at my desk – is titled “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Invictus is the Latin word for “unconquerable”. My favorite stanza in the poem reads:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
I believe that we all have unconquerable souls and that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. That is how I try to live my life.
My journey to becoming an engineer began with the pursuit of my degree at the University of Utah, where I worked hard and took control of my life. I was a first-generation college student, and I learned early on from my dad that we truly are the “masters of our fate.” My dad was always a hard worker setting an example for me. I knew that if I wanted to get good grades, I needed to do the work. If I wanted to go into a field of interest, I needed to take classes and get to know people with those same interests. If I wanted to do research, I needed to reach out to professors and ask to work with them. It is through these actions that I was able to accomplish my goals.
I started at L3Harris in 2015 as a co-op engineering student. I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor, Brian Caldwell, who showed me the importance of being unconquerable and striving to be the best engineer you can be. Engineering and intrapreneurship are about being on the edge of the unknown and discovering new things every day. It’s about solving problems and figuring out how something works. As a father, I am seeing my four-year-old son start to tinker with toys and try to figure them out – it’s fun to watch his little brain at work.
My experience at L3Harris goes beyond my role as an engineer. During the pandemic, while working from home, I wanted to get more involved and connect with coworkers. I saw that there was an opening for the Intrapreneurs and Early Career Professionals (ECP) community engagement chairs for Salt Lake City and decided to volunteer. We’ve done service projects to teach youth about STEM, and it has been very rewarding to plan community engagement events. It has been especially enjoyable to see the joy that it brings to others.
I am still early in my career, but if I had any advice for others, it’s that your life is in your control. If you want to accomplish something, set a goal and then work hard to make that goal happen. You are the master of your own fate and you are the captain of your own soul!