Cars have always captivated Brigham Young University student David Calabuig Jr. When he found a similar fascination with physics in high school, he set his sights on working as an engineer in the automotive industry.
“I love learning how things work. Understanding how the world works around us, how things interact with each other and why things are the way they are,” Calabuig said. “We talk about this a lot and it's really interesting to me.”
His passion for automotive work drew the junior engineering student to the BYU Baja team last semester. The team builds an offroad race car to race against other schools.
“It’s essentially a glorified bike with a motor. It’s built to be super efficient. The more speed the better,” Calabuig said. “I’ve been able to learn a lot through it, it's nice to get hands-on with what we learn in engineering; in classes you don’t get a ton of opportunity to make the parts. With Baja you get to experience making the parts, putting the parts together and testing. That's what keeps me going is seeing what I learn and applying it to what I do.”
Calabuig started getting his feet wet in engineering the summer before his freshman year at BYU when he did a research internship at the Applied Research Laboratories at UT Austin. This led to participation with the BYU Acoustical Society. After a two-year mission in Paris, France, he was led to the Baja team and also joined Tau Beta Pi (the engineering honor society).
In addition to the benefits he reaped from these extra-curricular experiences, Calabuig felt that the most understanding and preparation for his future career in engineering came from a class—ME EN 495R.
“I think it’s such a relevant class. I’m of the opinion that it should be mandatory just because it was so helpful,” Calabuig said. “It’s definitely helped me find out not only how to use the career fair and how to get a job, but how to get the job that I want and find the kind of people I need to to get in that kind of position.”
There’s no denying for Calabuig that he has also had his fair share of classes that were extremely difficult to get through, but he uses his automotive goals and passion for other parts of the program as motivation and encourages others to do the same.
“Just say don't give up, don't be discouraged; the classes can be hard, they can be challenging.” Calabuig said. “But if at the end of the day you enjoy what you’re doing and you feel like you’re having fun, keep doing it. Even if it’s hard it's totally worth it.”