Jose Christian De Lara





Aerospace Engineering
Class of 2018

Hometown: Round Lake, IL.

Research/Work Experience:
LAICE Structures and Solar Panel member
SpaceICE Structures project lead
NASA Goddard

Other campus activities:
Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Advisory Board
Division of General Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board
Provost's Undergraduate Advisory Board
Illinois Space Society (ISS)
American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Women in Aerospace (WIA)
Habitat for Humanity
Outdoor Adventure Club
University of Illinois AStronomical Society (UIAS)

Why did you join EA? At first I did not think much of Engineering Ambassadors as I applied. I only saw it as another item to put on my resume. Boy was I wrong. I did not think to gain anything else than your typical "leadership" or other things employers love to hear about on your resume. I've learned so much, from the communication aspect, to the rewarding feeling you get as you show others just what engineering can be. I've also made a new family. We are all alike yet so different at the same time. Being an Engineering Ambassador is something I will never regret.

What’s your favorite part of being an engineering student? Between the sleepless nights, the constant worry about my GPA, the strenuous exertion I place on my body both physically and mentally, I would have to pick the long standing goal of mine to make a difference in the world with my abilities and experience. I know that whatever I may be sacrificing now, whether it's through my blood, sweat, or tears, it will all be worth it as I show the world just what I am really capable of.

What made you come to the University of Illinois? I first came to Illinois my sophomore year of high school when my math team qualified for the State competition here at the University. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere, the space, the campus and everything in between. I knew that in 3 years I will be here because this is where I belong. Lo and behold, here I am many many years later.

What has been your best experience at Illinois? My best experience at Illinois so far has been just the entirety of my time here at Illinois. I am so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my higher education at such a lovely and prestigious university. Everyday is a new challenge and everyday is a way to help further myself academically and well beyond the classroom. So far my college career has been some of the best years of my life thus far.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a STEM degree? I would tell them that the path is hard. It is a very challenging degree and you will be tested to your limits. Sometimes you will want to give up everything, go to an easier major just so you can relax. But you cannot do that. That is what separates the good engineers from the great ones. Keep on going and keep on doing your best. Even if it gets tough, just push through and you will make it. Nobody said it would easy but by golly is the reward so so worth it in the end.

What do you plan on doing after graduation? I plan on going into the industry for satellite design and astrodynamics. Eventually I would like to work my way to get a Ph.D. and do some research on satellites. The dream is to become an astronaut but that is a long ways to go.