Aerospace Engineering Student Honored for Design/Build/Fly Project, Also Known for Stopping Goals

Mat Garcia named American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Student of the Year in OrangeCounty


If he’s not in the research lab, the best place to look for Mat Garcia is in the pool at the Crawford Athletic Complex.  Garcia not only excels in the classroom as a fifth-year aerospace engineering student, but also tends goal for UC Irvine’s NCAA Division I men’s water polo team.  


Garcia was recently named the 2007 Orange County Aerospace Student of the Year by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Orange County Section, recognized for his leadership exhibited in the student AIAA branch at UC Irvine and his role as student chief engineer of UC Irvine's entry in the AIAA annual Design/Build/Fly competition - sponsored by the Raytheon, Cessna, and the AIAA organization - for the last two years.  Garcia is also a former Big West Scholar-Athlete who earned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic honors.   


He grew up in Southern California and came to UC Irvine after graduating from ServiteHigh School in Anaheim.  While at UC Irvine, Garcia has been involved in researching aircraft design and aircraft control systems under Professor Ken Mease, Ph.D., and Adjunct Professor Robert Liebeck, Ph.D.  Specifically, he is interested in aircraft design and control systems as it applies to uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are aircraft used in military and civil applications where it is too dangerous or unnecessary to have a pilot on board.


After graduating in fall 2007, Garcia plans to remain at UC Irvine to earn a master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering.