Alec came to Cornell with an interest in building a more sustainable transportation infrastructure. “What brought me to engineering in the first place was based in sustainability,” he said, “and it was a focus on renewable energy that brought me to electrical engineering.”
Alec grew up in an Air Force family, living in several different states while his parents were transferred from post to post. They spent a lot of time on the road and by the time he started his undergraduate studies at the University of New Mexico, transportation issues had caught his attention.
“Even in Albuquerque,” he said, “I was spending over an hour a day on the road, sometimes an hour one way. And as a student, and someone who was also working a job at that time, those were precious hours that I was losing—those were hours that I wasn’t studying.”
Transferring to Cornell in the Fall of 2019, Alec found that Cornell Engineering provided a unique way to get to work on this problem when he discovered a project team dedicated to reimagining transportation, Cornell Hyperloop.
“A whole new means of transportation like the Hyperloop—that was immediately interesting to me,” Alec said. “I saw it as an opportunity to step into the world of designing new sustainable transportation systems.”
Joining Cornell Hyperloop brought Alec to the Emerson Manufacturing Lab in the basement of Upson Hall, a sprawling facility of tools, parts, and electronics where project teams set up shop.
“I very quickly realized that this was a really special part of the engineering education here. It was unlike anything I had seen at my previous school or anywhere else,” Alec said, “Project teams allow you to go beyond the classroom, actually put your skills to practical use, and learn how to do things a lot more like what you’re going to be doing at a job someday.”