Skip to main content

Hi everyone! Today we are highlighting mechanical engineering majors at Viterbi. Read on to find more info about what it’s like to study, work, and live life as an mechanical engineer.

Today’s responses are from:

Aiden Walters:

Hey, my name is Aiden and I’m a mechanical engineer with a minor in jazz performance. I’m from Connecticut, but I like the west coast better and enjoy surfing, skating, and spending time at the beach. I’m also involved with research on campus and have found a passion for product development.

Yasha Haque:

Hey future Trojans! My name is Yasha Haque and I am a junior studying Mechanical Engineering. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and am so happy that I get to spend my undergraduate years here too. I am so proud to be the current Vice Chair of the Viterbi Women in Engineering board and am very passionate about promoting more women to join
the field!

Paul Matt: My name is Paul Matt. I am a 5th year studying mechanical engineering with an emphasis on design.

How I describe my major
(and emphasis if applicable):

Aiden Walters: Mechanical engineering is the use of physics and math in practical problems. It also teaches you logic and complex problem solving. I think it is one of the most challenging majors, and definitely most rewarding as it provides you with numerous valuable skills.

Yasha Haque: I would describe mechanical engineering as being one of the broadest disciplines in the engineering field. Essentially, mechanical engineers can deal with anything that moves or has a mechanical component to it. Due to its versatility, you can choose to go into several different kinds of industries depending on your interests. Many mechanical engineers work on cars or planes, while others work on robotics, product development, or even air conditioning for buildings! The possibilities are endless.

Paul Matt: Studying mechanical design is probably the most fascinating thing to study when it comes to engineering. We get to observe how structures and systems interact with each other from micro to macro scale for just about any application. I am glad we get experience with a variety of CAD programs and finite element analysis to really give us the competence we are going to need when designing parts that go into complex machinery which lives depend on for successful operation.

How I chose my major:

Aiden Walters: I chose mechanical engineering because I loved working with my hands and building. I also enjoyed working on cars and wanted an opportunity to study them further. I also knew I wanted to be an innovator, and I believe that mechanical engineering would give me the technical background to create anything I wanted.

Yasha Haque: Growing up, I was always interested in creating. I was more interested in learning how my toys were built rather than just playing with them. I always had fun taking them apart and building them back together. I explored these passions with my love of arts and crafts and always took trips to Michael’s to get craft supplies (I still do)! When I was in middle school and high school, I found a passion for mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed my Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering courses. I fell in love with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in my freshman year high school course about engineering design and decided to extend my interest into college!

Paul Matt: I spent most of my life playing water polo and working on all sorts of crazy projects in my parents garage ever since I can remember, so I knew I wanted to study how things work and why. My projects included high powered model rockets with onboard flight data recording, homemade 3D-printers, and building synthesizers for music production. I cannot thank my parents enough for letting me explore these topics at an early age despite how dangerous some of them can get!

How I got involved at USC:

Aiden Walters: I primarily got involved through rushing and finding a community in Greek life. I have gotten involved academically through trying to create relationships with professors and doing research. I have also gotten involved with the design team SC racing because of my love for cars.

Yasha Haque: Perhaps my greatest involvement at USC has been my position as Vice Chair for the Women in Engineering board. Last year, I was the Director of Marketing for WIE as a sophomore and I enjoyed promoting all of the great opportunities WIE has to offer to students. WIE gives me the opportunity to bring the community of women engineers at USC together to celebrate our accomplishments while promoting our professional careers and well-being. I
also enjoyed getting involved in a 3D-printing club last year called 3D4E where students come together to design and CAD a brainstormed product! In this club, you can learn about CAD no matter what major you are in!

Paul Matt: This school has a wonderful collaborative environment and so many amazing opportunities to pursue! I was very lucky to speak with my thermodynamics professor, Anita Penkova, to join one of her research teams that focuses on efficient drone design and onboard power generation. So far, we are very close with our proof-of-concept model and are looking to arrange funding for our production model.

How I found community at USC:

Aiden Walters: I started to find community freshman year at Gateway while living with my peers. I found community in my classes by making study groups. I have also found community amongst musicians by going to the open Jam sessions on Monday nights and Tommy’s Place.

Yasha Haque: I began my first semester at USC during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020. While this was discouraging as I did not think I would be able to make friends or build a community at my new school, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Zoom gave my peers and I the opportunity to connect through video calls and collaborate on group projects despite our distance (shoutout to AME 101 projects). Creating study groups at Leavey Library has definitely been the best way I built my community of mechanical engineering friends. Our late nights of studying and struggling together through tough problems has helped us create memories that will last a lifetime. I also love the community that WIE has built within the board. I will always admire our group of passionate women who all share the common goals of supporting our peers! To get involved at USC, I recommend joining clubs and organizations that you are passionate about – whether or not they relate to your major. You will be sure to find something you enjoy as USC has a huge variety of
involvement opportunities!

Paul Matt: Right before everything went upside down for COVID, I decided to rush and joined Phi Sigma Kappa and return to water polo by joining the club team. I have made some life long friends in both organizations as well as through my classes. It helps having friends to spend time with while struggling together on an assignment or training set!

How I spend my free time at USC:

Aiden Walters: I like to spend a lot of my free time playing and practicing music, and trying to play gigs. On the weekends I like to go to the beach or snowboarding depending on the season. I also love to relax on Sundays and watching football and getting work done.

Yasha Haque: During my free time, I like to spend time with my friends and classmates. LA is full of fun activities and places to explore so we try to take advantage. My roommate and I love trying new restaurants together and taking trips to Downtown LA and the Santa Monica pier! In the fall, we always look forward to going to the football games. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never be bored in Los Angeles. Fight On!

Paul Matt: Since I grew up close to Los Angeles, I enjoy heading up to the mountains at any opportunity available to either go for a day hike with some friends and my dog or spend the night in the wilderness. Yeah, the beach is also a good option for surfing if my time is limited. Other than trying to spend as much time as possible outside, I can be found at the Lyon Center training with the Trojan Barbell Club in hopes of maybe going for a weightlifting competition sometime this year.

Viterbi Voices