As a full-time employee of the Lennox School District, about fifteen miles outside of Los Angeles, mechanical engineering graduate student Joel Miyamoto appreciates the flexibility in programming at Loyola Marymount University’s Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering.
Miyamoto takes evening courses designed for engineers already working in the field. He appreciates that the program has a healthy balance of research-focused, full-time students and working professionals like himself as it creates a rich diversity of experience and perspectives in each classroom.
“The classes are super small so it’s easy to ask questions, to feel comfortable as you’re learning,” said Miyamoto.
A native of Torrance, California, Miyamoto cites his religious background as one of the reasons he sought out LMU for his undergraduate studies. After attending Catholic primary schools, LMU’s Jesuit values appealed to Miyamoto.
During his high school years, Miyamoto was encouraged to explore the field of engineering due to his love and aptitude for math and science. As an undergraduate engineering student, he was able to take classes in a variety of disciplines, from civil to electrical to mechanical engineering.
Through his learning and experience in 3D Printing and product design, Miyamoto discovered that he loved the hands-on aspect of mechanical engineering. Miyamoto shares his passion for hands-on, experiential learning with the elementary and middle school students of Lennox School District where he designs, develops, and teaches design process-based engineering projects. His most recent lesson teaches students to move from 2D illustrations to 3D modeling.
Miyamoto finds it exciting to teach students skills he did not learn himself until sophomore year at LMU. He also enjoys witnessing the learning process.
“When they get it, I can see the light bulbs go off. That’s rewarding,” said Miyamoto.
Though Miyamoto loves teaching, he hopes to return to industry at some point in the future. He misses being directly involved in designing and prototyping.
“I just really love the process,” said Miyamoto. He admits that leaving teaching will be hard, as will leaving LMU. “It’s always felt like a home to me.”
When he is not designing lessons, teaching, or studying for classes, Miyamoto plays acoustic guitar. He also practices martial arts, an activity he picked up while attending LMU.