Brian Linhares, Class of '12

Bachelor of Science, Engineering—Mechatronics
Astoria, New York

Scientific aptitude is fine, but ask Brian Linhares what makes a good engineer and the answer might surprise you.

"Imagination," he says. "Without it, you're just a paper pusher."

Of all the skills required of a successful engineer, Linhares says the best one is an open mind. He is one of the most creative, and decorated, students ever to study in Vaughn College's engineering program.

A 2012 graduate, he earned the College's Engineering Innovation Award and a Casey S. Jones award in mechatronic engineering. He participated in several international robotics competitions, which helped him secure a position as a structural engineer with Embraer, the Brazilian-based aerospace giant.

"Working in any engineering company, you have to be open-minded and responsible," Linhares says. "You also have to have good public speaking skills to present your ideas. All of the conferences I went to helped me with that. Vaughn College also does a great job of networking, which a lot of colleges don't."

While at Vaughn, Linhares served as president of the Robotics Club. Together with students John Velasco, Jose Bonifaz and Sharifa Happy, he earned a second-place finish in the 2009 Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI) competition in Venezuela, designing a robot to enhance farm productivity. The following year, Linhares' Vaughn group finished third in Peru, designing an anti-riot robot to aid police in crowd control.

In November 2010, Linhares and three Vaughn classmates—Chandra Mauli Nautiyal, Marlon Medford and KinLok Poon—finished second and third in a national competition at California University of Pennsylvania, advancing to the world competition in April 2011 in Kissimmee, Fla.

The idea for the agricultural robot took root during a trip Linhares made to Brazil in 2007 and happened to watch farmers harvest sugar cane. The robot was made from aluminum beams, microprocessor boards, circuit breakers, copper wire and remote control."He's very creative," Professor Hossein Rahemi says, "and serious regarding his education."

While at Vaughn, Linhares earned high grades in his study of CATIA or, computer-aided, three-dimensional interactive application, the state-of-the-art engineering design software. His expertise in CATIA was very appealing to Embraer.

"I am very comfortable in CATIA; I studied it at Vaughn and it's great that I will be working with it," he says.

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