Christopher Arauzo
Class of 2024 graduate Christopher Arauzo, B.S., mechanical engineering. (Steve Zylius/UC Irvine)

Growing up in Torrance, Christopher Arauzo spent his childhood surrounded by immigrant families like his own, where he learned the value of hard work.

Arauzo decided to pursue mechanical engineering at UC Irvine after a high school internship at Marathon Petroleum Corp. As he watched his mentor try to repair a heat exchanger, he realized that almost all major systems require some form of thermal management. 

“Pairing that with my love for math and problem-solving, I was led to mechanical engineering,” Arauzo says. “With every experience I’ve gained, my interest has become more concentrated in thermal and fluid systems.”

At UC Irvine, he was the team lead for Spacecraft Thermal Management Systems, a student-led undergraduate research project. He also became the chief mechanical and aerospace engineer for STMS. 

The endeavor allowed Arauzo to learn and grow exponentially, and it also helped him secure a position at Boeing as an extreme environment materials intern. 

In addition, he belongs to the UC Irvine chapter of MAES: Latinos in Science and Engineering, where he has mentored underclassmen and written fundraising proposals for the Office of Outreach, Access and Inclusion and other campus entities.

After graduation, Arauzo will continue interning at Vast, a private aerospace company, and begin an aerothermal engineering internship at ABL Space Systems.

He’ll also be attending UC Irvine for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, after which he hopes to work in the commercial space industry.

What was your favorite class at UC Irvine? 

My favorite class at UC Irvine was Fluid Dynamics II. Xian Shi [assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering] did an excellent job structuring the course, during which I decided I wanted to work in fluids in addition to thermal. 

What advice would you give to a student starting their journey at UC Irvine? 

My advice to any new student would be to get involved with research or projects as soon as you can. Join an organization you care about to grow your support system, and give back to your community. I would also add that you should not be afraid to be ambitious. Practice overcoming your anxiety about speaking to new people, and speak up for yourself. You are capable! Also, make sure you say yes to things that will bring you one step closer to your goals.

“Chris is an outstanding critical thinker who can synthesize complex information and communicate it effectively to others. He is also empathetic, courteous and works well with his colleagues. One could not ask for a better student! I have no doubt as to his continued growth and success in his field and positive impact on his community.”

– Stephen Bach, engineering lecturer

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