Interview with Scholarship Winner – Sandro Figueroa

scholarships Jun 11, 2021

Sandro Figueroa was born in Lima, Peru and is studying towards his associate degree in Mechatronics Technology at Gwinnett Technical College and will simultaneously soon continue his progress towards a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University. He grew up aspiring to be a mechanical engineer his whole life but when given the opportunity to learn and work with electronics/electrical, he found that it was far more interesting and useful. As he progressed through his major, he realized that he can combine his lifelong mechanical interest with electrical through mechatronics. He is currently the IPC chapter president at Gwinnett Technical College and he played a critical role in helping the program director establish the chapter before it was even official.

He has been working full-time and studying in college for a year and a half now to pay for his education. Gwinnett Tech has assisted him with his career aspirations and supported him in landing a position as an electrical technician at Siemens in 2019 and as an industrial electronics technician at Radwell International in 2020. His responsibilities at Siemens were to refurbish electrical kits by cleaning, inspecting, and repairing hand tools and power equipment within the kits. His responsibilities at Radwell are to power test, inspect for electronic defects, troubleshoot, and configure industrial electronics.

Charlene Gunter du Plessis, Sr Director of the IPC Education Foundation connected with Sandro to learn more about his personal and professional aspirations. Our conversation highlighted the following:



Charlene: “If you have an internship lined up or have interned in the past – What valuable tips do you wish to share with likeminded students?”

Sandro: “Internships are not all the same. Some are paid, some not. Some will provide you with many opportunities to learn, some will just be basic and boring work that requires little to no knowledge of your major. I was interning at a tooling facility at Siemens where we mainly just cleaned hand tools, which had little to no electrical knowledge required but I knew that Siemens was a huge company so they must have had something more I could take away from it. My search rewarded me with the opportunity to take Siemens online courses for free whenever I had leisure time at work. These were tremendously helpful in getting my opportunity in my current job. Even if they didn’t offer these courses, I was getting some experience with my hands and I was getting used to working nearly full time which is the case for all professional jobs. Keynote is to make the best of the experience or find something in that experience that can make it a great experience.”

Charlene: “What are your plans to grow professionally during the summer?”

Sandro: “I will still likely continue to work and study throughout the summer but if I have free time, I will seek to study for any relevant certifications that may assist my appearance in either my current job or future job.”

Charlene: “What have you learned from professional work experiences?”

Sandro: “I have learned an extensive amount of hard technical knowledge and skills that could never be taught in a college. I have learned to make the best of any job that you have because there will be countless learning opportunities even if you don’t realize it. I have also learned that hard work never goes unnoticed and unrewarded.”

Charlene: “How do you prepare for interviews?”

Sandro: “I prepare by getting familiar with the outcomes of the position, getting familiar with the equipment I would be working with, reviewing my electronics notes, and preparing questions that I would have about the position.”

Charlene: “What attributes of an employer are attractive to you?”

Sandro: “I believe that their mission to quality education/training, safety, and management are essential for an employer to run a successful business.”

Charlene: “What accomplishments are you most proud of?”

Sandro: “I am most proud of being able to overcome my difficulties of studying at a university and at a technical college while working. Advancing in high school, all I wanted was to attend a good or prestigious university and make my parents proud. That’s why I studied endless nights and took 9 AP classes. Due to certain reasons and my family’s financial status, I was unable to be accepted or even apply to many universities. Thankfully, I was able to overcome my temporarily broken dreams and inspirations by attending a technical college and working. Little did I know that the information and experience that it brought me would be life changing. I now realize the immeasurable potency of the combined knowledge of both a technician and engineer. There is and has always been a strong separation of the 2 and oftentimes don’t understand each other. Overcoming such benevolent and high dreams was most definitely not easy but it all happened for the better. These dreams are still in the back of my head and I might still be able to fulfill them despite the educational routes I have chosen to make.”

Charlene: “What are your goals in terms of engineering today?”

Sandro: “My goal is to learn as much technical knowledge and then learn the engineering knowledge so that I may create something groundbreaking using several concepts from everything I have learned. I would also like to partake in research of emerging technology at a university or company.”

Charlene: “Why do you love about the industry in general?”

Sandro: “I love that it constantly changes, adapts, and integrates other engineering principles. It keeps me constantly learning about new technology.”

Charlene: “How would you describe the term “Engineering”?”

Sandro: “Engineering is a vast field of applying physics and concepts derived from physics to create solutions to everyday problems.”

Charlene: “Do you have short term goals?”

Sandro: “My short-term goals are to learn about encoders at work so that I may continue helping Radwell with their mission of customer satisfaction and take CLEP exams to save up money for other classes.”

Charlene: “Thank you for sharing your goals and dreams, Sandro. You are a true inspiration and an ambassador to the industry. Well done.”

Sandro: “Thank you, Charlene.”


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