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The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Grove Building – Louis Hernandez

A sneak peek into a future in engineering!
Mr. Hernandez with a shock tube for high speed turbulence research.

Louis Hernandez is the Chief Technician at the Grove School of Engineering building. The idea to interview him started off as a small Vox Pop activity during the newspaper elective. The question my group came up with was “Do you enjoy sports?” He immediately responded, “My girlfriends would probably know more about sports than me.” Once, he tried to watch a baseball game and left immediately after the fifth inning because “it got too boring.” Chief Hernandez instead emphasized he did dance when he was younger and always had more of an interest in that. When we shared that we attended HSMSE, he praised our school and its “genius” students. Chief Hernandez revealed that before the pandemic, HSMSE had a robotics team led by the high school teachers. At one point, he joined and took the team on, along with A. Philip Randolph’s, winning two straight competitions. Sadly, after COVID hit, the team dissipated. I sat down to talk with him about his experience at CCNY.

Q: Are you a chief engineer of the Grove Building only or the entire campus?

A: He is the mechanical engineer of the Grove Building. His job entails designing research equipment to help prove the professors’ theories. Before he had accepted this position, there was no other chief mechanical engineer. His first invention was the biggest wind tunnel in the tri-state area! A wind tunnel is a large tube with air moving inside it. It is meant to simulate an aircraft or object in flight. 

Q: What do you remember from your experience with MSE?

A: “The students from HSMSE, from what I remember, are talented, dedicated, smart, hard-working, well mannered, and collaborative.” 

Q: How did the robotics competitions go?

A: Most robotics competitions were hosted at the Jacob Javits Center while he was their guide. He would guide the students through creating and making their robots functional enough to compete against other schools. However, he stressed that although he has all the answers, the most important thing was for the students to figure obstacles out on their own or as a collaborative team. Mr. Hernandez recalled one competition when students had to build robots to play a basketball game. This was also the year where omni wheels, wheels that move robots horizontally rather than just vertically, were introduced. The teams that Mr. Hernandez led, specifically this time was the CCNY team, utilized these wheels and won many matches. He remembers the shock on everyone’s face when the wheels moved unexpectedly. His first experience with the HSMSE team was at a competition where robots had to lift a ring as high as possible and the higher it went the more points the team received. “I usually get too much credit on these projects, it is all the brilliant students in HSMSE.”

Q: Any advice for people going into STEM fields? 

A: “The best advice I can give everyone is to develop strong work ethics because it is hard to get anywhere without dedication. In life, people will also need to work as a team, so it is crucial to be able to be collaborative with many different people and to make open-minded decisions. However, the most important thing is to always love what you do. It is not worth it unless it is your passion. Personally, engineering was what I wanted to do in life and helping everyone makes me feel great.”

This photo shows Mr. Hernandez posing with one of his projects, the wind tunnel. This is for students and professors to use. (Charlize Prifti)

Louis Hernandez, Grove School of Engineering’s friendliest mechanical engineer left one last piece of advice to any students looking for a joke: “Remember our deal, when you get a great job, we split our salary evenly, 80% and 20%. When they tell you that’s not even, say that they are even numbers!”

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