Juan David Llanos

My Education

Stanford University

MS丨Mechanical Engineering

Loyola Marrymount University

BS | Mechanical Engineering


Career

Shell

Heat Transfer Engineer

David Llanos is a mechanical engineering graduate holding a Bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s degree from Stanford University. He currently works for a global energy company in Houston, Texas as a Heat Transfer Engineer. He chose to study mechanical engineering because of its broad career prospects and because of how it intersects in our daily lives. Graduates can work in the automotive, energy, biotech, defence, space and tech industries among many others. Outside of work David enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling across the U.S. and around the world with his fiancé, and always trying out the latest brunch spot in whatever city he is in.

Q: Why are you passionate about your academic field? When and how did you discover your love of your subject?
A: I chose to study mechanical engineering in my junior year of high school. I was at a crossroads between engineering and medicine, and I chose engineering after taking physics course and visiting NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I believe mechanical engineering is the most broad field in engineering; students can choose careers in the energy industry, automotive industry, defence industry and countless others.
Q: What are your three top recommendations for a student targeting a masters in your field? What if they are preparing to switch their major to your field?
A:
  1. Make sure you understand what your options are after completing the masters! What do you want to get out of the masters?
  2. Research a variety of schools that offer the masters. Do not only target famous “name- brand” schools. There are a number of schools that are not as well known that have great programs.
  3. If you are preparing to switch over make sure you have all the fundamental courses for engineering. By this I mean math based courses and basic science courses.
Q: What resources can students use to educate themselves on your subject?
A: One of the best tips I can give to students is to look up jobs for someone with a degree in mechanical engineering. It will allow you to understand what opportunities there are post degree.
Q: What are your top tips to showcase an applicant’s strength to Admissions Officers?
A: Obviously a great GPA and test scores are helpful, but I believe extra-curriculars and a top- notch statement of purpose are needed. Show admissions officers what it is that separates you from other applicants.
Q: Any pitfalls or mistakes an applicant should be aware of as they apply to your program?
A: One of the biggest mistakes is more about the schools than programs. Remember, you will have to live at that school/city for the next 4 years (undergrad) or 2-5 years (masters/PhD). Make sure you’ve thoroughly visited the city and area (and weather!) where that school is.
Q: Why did you apply to your university and program? What other universities and programs were you admitted to?
A:
  1. For my undergraduate I attended Loyola Marymount because of the small class sizes and well ranked engineering programs. They also had a generous financial aid package, which allowed me to finish college debt free. In addition, I was admitted to the University of Florida and University of Miami.
  2. For graduate school I chose to attend Stanford because of the top ranked mechanical engineering program. They also offered me a full fellowship to their university. In addition to Stanford, I was admitted to numerous programs like the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, UCLA, USC, University of Florida, Northwestern University, etc.
Q: What are the common career paths for graduates in your field?
A: Graduates can work in numerous fields such as automotive, defence, space, oil and gas, biotech, etc.
Q: What aspects of the campus culture are your favorites? Which aspects surprised you? Which would you change if you could?
A: The best thing about college was the lifelong friendships I made. The amount of activities on any given weeks were numerous and there were organizations aplenty. The biggest surprise was how fast it went, and if there was anything I could have changed it would have been to slow down and truly enjoy it all.
Q: What’s your favorite fun fact about your university? Any special events or traditions or legends?
A: Stanford was actually started as a tribute to the son (Leland Stanford Jr.) of two California parents who died before his time. It was a fitting tribute that the University became one of the most famous in the world.
Q: How did you spend your summer vacation during university? Any advice for making the most of summer?
A: During undergraduate I took other courses (to advance myself in my major) during my first two years, later I spent my summers interning for companies in order to broaden my professional experiences.
Q: What makes you smile? Share more on a favorite hobby.
A: Spending time with friends and family, traveling across the U.S. and around the world with my fiancé, and always trying out the latest brunch spot in whatever city I’m in.
Q: Why are you excited to mentor Dyad Scholars?
A: It’s great to give back to other students and future generations. I am excited to work with Dyad students to make their dreams come true regarding attending their top choices in Universities.