Armour R & D is Stepping Stone to Google Job for Recent Armour College of Engineering Graduate

Luis Larco

Luis Larco

Recent Armour College of Engineering graduate Luis Larco (CE, EE ‘15), came to Armour College of Engineering as a junior transfer student from a community college and is leaving with two undergraduate degrees and a job at Google. Among the many stepping stones along the way, Larco credits his work with Armour R&D as having a significant impact on his path to securing his dream job.

Although he had no lab experience when he first came to Armour, he was interested in working on research with Miles Wernick, Motorola Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of Medical Imaging Research Center (MIRC) and professor of biomedical engineering.

In the summer of 2012, with the Armour R&D program not yet in existence, Larco took it upon himself to convince Wernick that it would be a good idea to let an undergraduate like him work in his lab as a special projects course. Upon being accepted by Wernick, Larco did not waste any time proving his worth. He completed his first week-long graduate level assignment, writing a program to detect breast cancer in MRI images, in just three days.

Seeing the need for an established undergraduate research program, Dean Natacha DePaola along with the Armour College of Engineering Distinctive Education Council, launched Armour R&D in the spring of 2013. That initial semester, 19 selected undergraduate students were given a stipend and the unique opportunity to conduct research with faculty mentors.

Larco participated in the Armour R&D program for three semesters, continuing his work with Wernick. He even earned the top award for Security at the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Armour R&D Expo poster competitions.

Participating in Armour R&D was an important stepping stone for Larco. He was able to take the knowledge learned within his typical engineering curriculum classes, and immediately apply that knowledge to a real problem. It also allowed him to do something that was meaningful and would help the community. The Armour R&D program also helped Larco to expand his network – Wernick has become a lifelong mentor and friend to Larco through their work together.

Larco plans to continue to use the skills he learned at Armour to help society and make the world a better place – one stepping stone at a time.