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Tarun is a UCSD mechanical engineering student passionate about robotic engineering and AI.

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"Discover a way to simultaneously engage with your community and your passion for engineering by looking for innovative solutions to unsolved issues around you. This will develop your global awareness and your problem-solving skills."

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Tarun Murugesan
Class of 2020


Pictured here is me at one of my robotics competitions!


My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.

My path toward discovering my passion for mechanical engineering began in 7th grade when I first decided on pursuing a major in STEM (specifically astronomy) because of my love for the mysteries of space.

Hoping to learn more about careers related to space exploration, I sought out a family friend who worked at NASA’s JPL and secured a personal tour of their facilities. From this experience, I realized that my interests aligned with a more hands-on field than astronomy and gained an interest in engineering.

Upon entering AOC, I desired to proactively explore whether I could develop a passion for engineering and find myself pursuing it as a career. Ultimately, I learned about the obscure Project 691 district robotics team and decided to try it out.

During the first two years, I explored the different areas of expertise within the team (electrical engineering, programming, etc.) and found my passion for the ideation and hands-on development involved within the mechanical engineering of the robots.

As well as becoming President of the team in my senior year, I began understanding the nature of the changing workforce and realized the need for a diverse skill set. I ventured beyond the manufacturing of the robot and began engaging in the team’s other technical areas I had previously disregarded.

Trying to further develop my technical skills, I discovered and enrolled in COC’s ENG-114 course that taught the computer-aided design program (CAD), SolidWorks. This course made me realize my interest in CAD and I hope to integrate it into my future career in engineering.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, I continued working on personal CAD projects and began learning programming languages such as Java and C++.

I am now pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at the University of California, San Diego and intend to gain experience from internships, undergraduate research, and the university’s robotics team.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Went on a tour of NASA’s JPL and learned about real-life engineering jobs through exploration of their various development teams. 

  • Learned Java and Solidworks at COC and further honed these skills in my free time.

  • Became President of Project 691 Robotics and developed technical skills in mechanical engineering and electrical circuitry during my 4 years on the team.


  • Joined Yonder Deep, an engineering org whose mission is to be the first undergraduate group of students to design and build a 3D printed, low cost, and fully Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to conduct oceanographic and climate change research. As part of the mechanical design team, I utilized design intent through CAD and conducted ballasting analyses to ensure our AUV would operate in water as designed.


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

Although I have chosen to study mechanical engineering at UCSD, I am uncertain of what kind of job I can envision myself pursuing as a lifelong career. Because I have had the opportunity to explore and find interest in many different areas of expertise (including programming, CAD, artificial intelligence, and of course mechanical design), I intend to use my time at UCSD to gain hands-on experience and discover a career in which I can integrate all these different skills.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: Although taking high-level math and science courses is important, make sure to utilize COC’s expansive list of classes in order to build technical skills that will allow you to develop personal projects and bolster your resume. (Ex. ENG-114 SolidWorks)

  • Advice #2: Discover a way to simultaneously engage with your community and your passion for engineering by looking for innovative solutions to unsolved issues around you. This will allow you to develop your global awareness and your problem-solving skills.

  • Advice #3: Network and connect with those who are in the workforce or are pursuing your academic pathway to learn about possible careers and understand what kind of job you can envision yourself doing in the future.

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