Momentum - September 2020 - 18

CAREER
PATH

DOSSIER: MARÍA FERNANDA
CASTILLO OF VIKUA
"HARDWARE FORGER" ISN'T A JOB TITLE you come across every day.
But that's the one María Fernanda Castillo has at Venezuela's VIKUA, a
research and development company that is focused on technologies for
smart cities and that likes to have fun. VIKUA's motto is "making science
fiction a reality." Translated to conventional terms, her job title would be
electronics engineer.
She was hired at the company in April 2019 after graduating from
Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela, in December 2018 with a
bachelor's degree in electronics engineering. Among her responsibilities
is designing printed circuit boards, programming microcontrollers, and
testing VIKUA's alpha-stage projects-both field testing and in-house
laboratory testing.
"The most meaningful thing about my job is the process of seeing the
end product," Castillo told MOMENTUM. "After spending time in research
and development, designing and programming of a project, seeing it
at the testing stage and final stages is satisfactory. Learning something
different every day from the challenges of each project, besides working
as a team, is something that I value a lot."
Read on to learn more about Castillo.
Why did you decide to become an engineer?
I wasn't sure what I wanted to study after I graduated from high school,
only that it would be science-related. I applied to various programs and
schools and got in one of the best engineering universities of my country.
Between the programs I got in, I decided to study electronics engineering
because it was the one that aligned better with my skillsets and the thing
I wanted to achieve. I wasn't sure if it was the right choice at the moment,
but looking back at it from where I am today, it definitely was.
I am passionate about my career and the endless possibilities of what
I could create and do, from small things like turning on a light bulb to
robots, AI systems, and data acquisition. The fact that I could build

María Fernanda Castillo at a driver demonstration for sponsors of
the 2018-2019 Universidad Simon Bolivar Baja SAE team.
something from scratch and control it with programming
is appealing to me. I think I am very fortunate to be
working in a field that I enjoy.
To what character traits do you attribute your success?
Perseverance and hard work are the character traits to
which I attribute my success. I believe that whatever
goal we set our mind on, we must give it all our best and
work for it till the end. I've applied this on university with
the Baja SAE team and in my personal and professional
work. I think that no matter how big or unreasonable
your goal might be, give it a try since you will only lose if
you don't.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
After a rough year on the Baja SAE team that we thought

On the job as "hardware forger" at VIKUA.

18 September 2020

2009_Career Path_18-20.indd 1

Working on her team's Baja SAE engine at a competition in
Oregon, 2018.
MOMENTUM

8/19/20 9:07 AM



Momentum - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - September 2020

Momentum - September 2020
Don’t worry students, you got this!
Benefits U
Formula SAE pivot puts focus on adaptability
U Calgary is MVP of UAVs at SAE AeroConnect Challenge
Avoiding burns in the SAE Supermileage ‘trial by fire’
Air domination
Teams from India on rise at Formula Hybrid
After 21 tries, Michigan Tech snowmobile team finally sleds to victory in 2020
Team from U Michigan takes all 3 titles in re-imagined Baja SAE competitions
Briefs
COMVEC 2020 preview
The IC future points to more downsizing, lean mixtures
SAE 101: Scholarships
Dossier: María Fernanda Castillo of VIKUA
Networking helps keep your options open
Momentum - September 2020 - Momentum - September 2020
Momentum - September 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - September 2020 - 1
Momentum - September 2020 - Don’t worry students, you got this!
Momentum - September 2020 - Benefits U
Momentum - September 2020 - Formula SAE pivot puts focus on adaptability
Momentum - September 2020 - 5
Momentum - September 2020 - U Calgary is MVP of UAVs at SAE AeroConnect Challenge
Momentum - September 2020 - Avoiding burns in the SAE Supermileage ‘trial by fire’
Momentum - September 2020 - Air domination
Momentum - September 2020 - 9
Momentum - September 2020 - Teams from India on rise at Formula Hybrid
Momentum - September 2020 - After 21 tries, Michigan Tech snowmobile team finally sleds to victory in 2020
Momentum - September 2020 - Team from U Michigan takes all 3 titles in re-imagined Baja SAE competitions
Momentum - September 2020 - 13
Momentum - September 2020 - Briefs
Momentum - September 2020 - COMVEC 2020 preview
Momentum - September 2020 - The IC future points to more downsizing, lean mixtures
Momentum - September 2020 - SAE 101: Scholarships
Momentum - September 2020 - Dossier: María Fernanda Castillo of VIKUA
Momentum - September 2020 - 19
Momentum - September 2020 - Networking helps keep your options open
Momentum - September 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - September 2020 - Cover4
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