Meet Eszti Varga, an aerospace engineering major. Eszti joined Frith as an undergraduate lab assistant when she was a freshman and will spend the next year working on her masters in aerospace engineering with a focus on system safety and controls.

Eszti was recently named the Outstanding Senior Class of 2023 in the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (AOE) Department. This award recognizes exceptional academic achievement, leadership, and service among the entire senior class of AOE. 

How did you find out about the Frith First-Year Makerspace?

The way I got hired was really interesting actually. I used to live in Hungary, and they never had a makerspace like Frith. When I came to tech, I basically just lived at Frith. I was there all of the time, and whoever worked there at the time noticed. They told someone else that I should be hired, and I was. 

What was it about Frith that kept you there so long?

I really like Frith. It's still one of my favorite places on campus. I don't really have time to work that much anymore considering that I'm not only a senior, but also someone who is completing their masters. Frith is just like being home, and it’s the coolest job. Sometimes you're just doing homework. Sometimes you're making things, and I really like making things. We have access to anything the students have and more. I don't see how anyone would not love working here, so I’ve never had an idea to leave.

What about the community at Frith is so special to you?

I’ve always learned from students and from everyone who works there. It’s just a really cool place to work. Everyone who works there is really cool, so we kind of all learn from each other on how to build and make things, and that is really special to me.

Are there any memorable moments or lessons that you learned from Frith that you can apply to everyday life?

I’ve learned all of my technical and prototyping skills at the lab. I spent 19 years in Hungary, and we don't have things like this. I never had a lab class until college. We would watch YouTube videos in class and that was the extent of everything that I've ever experienced. I had never seen a 3D printer or laser cutter or anything like that. Now, I have my own laser cutter. Things have changed a lot. I basically learned all of my skills at the Frith lab, I bought my own laser cutter, and created my own business.

Looking back on your time as a UCLA, how do you think that your role made an impact on the first-year students?

My favorite part has always been the students.  I love seeing the students I have trained that now come into the lab and make all kinds of things. It’s really amazing. Most of the people that work there now I've trained, and I saw them when they were coming in as freshman. It's really fun to especially see those students make amazing things and know that I had some part in it. I like the idea that I’ve helped them get started on their journey. 

What will you miss most about being a ULA?

One of the best things about Frith is how cool everyone is. Everyone who gets hired at Frith has something about them that's a little quirky. Everyone's just really cool, and I'll definitely miss hanging out with everyone. It’s just really fun to hang out with everyone and see what they’re working on. I mean we have access to extremely expensive and really cool tools that most people don’t have access to. I will definitely miss everyone and the equipment.

How will you use this experience and implement it into your future career as an engineer?

My masters doesn’t have a whole lot to do with my experience at Frith since it is more mathematical than hardware experience. For me, making things and building things is coming from more of my passion for engineering and who I am outside of school. Frith is my outlet, and it taught me how important it is to keep that outlet going. 

Is there anything you would like to add about your time at Frith?

I’ve never seen anyone who has gone or worked at Frith that didn’t love it. We, as ULAs, love the environment at Frith so much that we spend all of our time there. I would spend more of my time there if I could.

Q&A written by Emily Southern, Writing Intern for Engineering Education