Kevin Trevino is Bi-Link's engineering intern spending his second summer tinkering with tools, parts, and 3D printing. He's currently a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) pursuing a bachelor's degree in engineering and is an active student member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) chapter.
Last April, Kevin and his AIAA team participated in a rocket competition and won second place! During the development stage, Kevin had access to Bi-Link's 3D printers to make rocket payload parts fast and on a tight budget. As a way of saying thanks, Kevin gave Bi-Link a framed photo of the winning rocket taking off, signed by the team.
We sat down with Kevin to learn a bit more about what it's like building rockets and being an intern at Bi-Link:
Q: How did you get into engineering?
A: I was always that kid playing with Legos and taking things apart. I became really interested in engineering by the age of 14. Engineering is something I've always stuck to.
Q: At Bi-Link, what's a normal day like for an intern?
A: The first thing I do is walk in and turn on the laser welder. A laser welder has to be calibrated each day to ensure it's working to its higher standards. Later, I'll be in the tool room to assist with anything I can: cutting, fixing, and/or installing.
While in the tool room, I'm put on the spotlight a lot. I'll walk in and it will literally be, "Injection molding…you're learning today!" And I have no choice but to dive in, but it helps me learn faster.
I also help machine operators troubleshoot machines.
Q: Does interning at Bi-Link give you the freedom to tinker?
A: Yes! That's one of the reasons I came back this summer. They had a machine design in mind that they wanted me to start working on. So now, I'm working on completing the design process and building it.
Q: Tell me more about AIAA.
A: The AIAA is a national student organization dedicated to the study of aerospace engineering. Our team works together to build rockets and airplanes to participate in competitions throughout the United States.
A lot of people don't know that UIC has this organization because most schools who offer it tend to be bigger universities with an Aerospace program.
But for us, it works really well since the students who are involved are from different backgrounds such as Computer Science, Electrical engineering, Chemical engineering, Civil engineering, and even Biomedical engineering. Currently, there are about 40 active student members involved.
Q: Describe your role in the last rocket competition.
A: For the competition where we took second place, I wasn't as involved with the rocket design but more on the payload design.
When it came to making the parts for it, we had to figure out how to make them on a budget. And right away I thought of Bi-Link's 3D printers. It took a few alterations and tweaks because we had to change the design to accommodate limitations, but it all worked out and we learned a lot!
We're participating in another, upcoming competition in Utah. For this, we're currently working on two rockets. The first rocket has to reach 10,000 feet, the second 23,000 feet. Again, Bi-Link will help my team print and machine the parts needed to complete the projects.
Q: Outside of engineering, what's another passion of yours?
A: Back in my high school days, I was really involved in the music department and was really close to studying music in college. I've always loved composing. In high school, I tried out for a few competitions my senior year. Only after a year of being part of the music program, I received third place in the state in a jazz composition competition. After high school, I started at College of DuPage, but when it was time to transfer, I applied to a few schools including Berkley College of Music.
I did get accepted, but I decided not to go. Instead, I decided to attend UIC for engineering.
Q: What are your plans for after college?
A: After college, I definitely want to pursue a Masters in Aerospace. But I do plan on working right away. I'm eager to get more hands-on experience.