Team Members

The Team

The team consists of approximately thirty students from four colleges at California State University, Los Angeles.

Go check out our Member Demographics Page to find out more details about the general team makeup


Project Manager
Melissa Hernandez
    Melissa Hernandez is the Project Manager for Cal State LA's EcoCAR 3 team for Year 3 of competition. Her previous experience consists of two years of team participation, including Electrical & Computer Engineering Co-Lead for Year 2. A senior transfer student from San Diego, CA, Melissa began pursue engineering due to her interest in taking things apart, learning how they functioned, and successfully putting them back together. This interest led to her part-time work at Apple doing repairs and modifying products. Melissa decided she wanted to turn what she loved into a career and went back to school to pursue her Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. Because of her passion for emerging technologies within the renewable energy sector, she joined the Cal State LA team, as the scope of the project places her within working in that domain. After graduating, she wants to pursue a career in research and design; therefore, she hopes to get an internship and then later, earn her Master’s and PhD.
Communications Manager
Graciela Espinoza
    Graciela Espinoza is the Communications Manager for Cal State LA EcoCAR 3. She is a third year studying Communication Studies with a minor in Spanish. Graciela joined EcoCAR 3 because she loves working with the diverse student population. Her love for the campus and the city of Los Angeles has driven her to strive and show the world what Cal State LA students can contribute to the world. After graduation, her ultimate goal is to work with children from low socioeconomic backgrounds by creating programs to keep children away from joining gangs and drugs while putting an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Engineering Manager
Mike Chen
    Hsueh Miao "Mike" Chen, has been part of EcoCAR since Year 2 of the EcoCAR 2 competition. He learned about EcoCAR through the past Mechanical Engineering lead who recruited him. Mike is part of the Blended Mechanical Engineering Program; after graduating Spring 2017, he will have earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Upon graduation, he wants to work in the automobile industry for GM. In his spare time, he likes to read fiction novels and going to the shooting range.
Human Resources
Jossie Gallardo
    Jossie Gallardo is a Senior, Human Resources major with a minor in Economics and is the Human Resources Lead for Cal State LA EcoCAR 3. Originally from Mexicali, Baja California. She chose management because the field has opportunities to explore almost anything and allows her to bring ideas and designs. What excites her about EcoCAR is to work with a variety of different majors for one common project. It is a challenge working with competition rules and deadlines, but she’s found that EcoCAR is the place where one gets to experiment and implement new ideas to improve the team. After graduation, Jossie hopes to attend graduate school and or to work for a company in their Human Resources Department.
Controls and Systems Modeling Simulation Sub-Team Lead
Justin Bower

    Justin has been a part of the Cal State L.A. EcoCAR program since March of 2012. He started on the Electrical Sub-Team and quickly rose to become one of the Electrical team leads. As an Electrical Co-Lead, he gained experience in automotive harness design and manufacturing while working closely with the other engineering sub-teams. Prior to joining the EcoCAR team, he gained experience in a number of different fields. He started taking electronics for kid’s classes at the local community college in the third grade which started his love for engineering. From then through his transferring to Cal State L.A. in 2011 he gained experience in Robotics, Graphic Communications, Live Audio Mixing, and Mechanical Drafting. He has his Associate's Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences and is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

Controls and Systems Modeling Simulation Sub-Team Lead
Yvette Sevillano
    Yvette Sevillano is the current CSMS lead for CSULA’s EcoCAR3 team. She is currently in her final year as a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student and seeks employment upon graduation. One of the reasons she joined EcoCAR was for the unique and tremendous opportunity offered by GM and Argonne National Laboratory. Yvette’s academic and professional interests include feedback of dynamic systems, controls and stability, but aside from academia, she enjoys spending time outdoors and discovering new food spots.
Electrical Sub-Team Lead
Nicholas Alvarado
    Nicholas Alvarado is an Electrical Engineering major with specializations in Computers and Biomedical. He has been on the Cal State LA EcoCAR 3 Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) sub-team since Fall 2015 and traveled to Yuma, Arizona with the team for the Year 2 Competition. He now serves as the ECE Team Co-Lead. In his spare time, he works construction with his parents helping them out with anything they need. He also enjoys playing his guitar or brainstorming ideas to apply his engineering skills such as designing pedals for his guitar. He graduates in Spring 2017 and hopes to work at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab working on cutting-edge technology for the betterment of science.
Electrical Sub-Team Lead
Morgan Cook
    Morgan Cook is a graduate student in Electrical Engineering and has been on the Cal State LA EcoCAR 3 Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Sub-Team since Year 2 of the competition. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Cal State Long Beach and decided to take on the difficult task of switching to electrical engineering out of a desire to help clean up the environment through development of cleaner technologies. Having quickly adapted to his new field, he now serves as one of the ECE Team Leads. After graduating in Spring 2018, Morgan hopes to become a Controls Engineer for electrified vehicles.
Innovation Sub-Team Lead
Viraj Bhakta
    Viraj Bhakta is an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science. He has been on the EcoCAR3 Innovations team since Year 2 and gained many skills through training by previous Sub-Team leaders.His interest with Computer Science began in high school when taking a web development course. He was amazed and captivated by the ability to create a webpage with words and went on to learn more. Through hard work, dedication, and having a positive attitude he now serves as Innovations Lead. -mic drop-
Mechanical Sub-Team Lead
Manuel Castaneda
    Manuel, also known as 'Manny,' is a senior Mechanical Engineering student and Mechanical team lead since Spring of 2015. He always wanted to work on an automotive project that applied engineering principles taught in class; working on and learning more about cars was why he first joined the team in Year 3 of EcoCAR 2. After graduating, he hopes to land a job with an automobile manufacturer, preferably BMW, VW, or GM, working as a design engineering (computer aided engineering) in either structural design, powertrain systems, or exterior bodies.
Mechanical Sub-Team Lead
Calvin Qiu
    Calvin Qiu is the Mechanical Engineering (ME) Co-Lead for Cal State LA EcoCAR 3. As a 4th year ME student, he joined the team in Year 2 of the competition in order to work on a hands-on engineering project. Calvin came to Cal State LA at the age of 15 as part of the university’s Early Entrance Program which allows qualified students as young as 11 years old the opportunity to excel at the university level. Calvin chose the ME career path because when he was younger, he wanted to design his own Iron Man suit. In the future, he hopes to work at Lamborghini, Audi or BMW as a Powertrain Engineer or Vehicle Designer.
Systems Safety Sub-Team Lead
Rubi Mora
    Rubi Mora is a senior in mechanical engineering and systems safety lead. Her passion for space travel and astronomy was her main motivation that led her to study engineering. She joined the Cal State LA EcoCAR team during the summer of 2013 as a freshman. She decided to join EcoCAR because of the challenge and different opportunities to learn that the project offers. Being part of EcoCAR has led her to land internships at places such as SpaceX and the Aerospace Corporation. In the future she would like to work as a design, controls or systems safety engineer.