Oh, The People You'll Know: Jonathon Cabrera
When he was growing up, Johnny’s grandfather invited him to work with him on various home improvement projects. He tinkered around with his grandfather, and found particular interest in helping out with an oil change. He said that his grandfather would always tell him that he would grow up to be an engineer, and Johnny would laugh because he didn’t know what that actually meant. As he grew up, he found passion in math, science, and working with his hands, and found that engineering would be a perfect subject for him to study.
In addition to this, he found his passion for video games to be a driving force to attract him to science. Johnny found the experience of playing to be immersive and formative. He loved a series of story-driven puzzle Nintendo games called Professor Layton. He felt this helped him find his passion within engineering, as a lot of problems we encounter as engineers are similar to puzzles, in the sense that you have to use math and knowledge of physical properties to solve real life issues that are present all around society.
At Quad Day freshman year, Johnny found an interest in the Flow Arts Club. Flow is a group that incorporates dance with props, hula hoops and staves. Within Flow, he has found that he likes to work with poi, which are weights tied to the end of a string. He was attracted to how versatile they were to play with, and the prospect of analyzing the physical laws behind their behavior. Very wisely he stated, “I’m only limited by the laws of physics, and my imagination.” With this mindset, he considers different tricks and how he can use his knowledge of physics to help him execute them.
Johnny is a new member of ASME and its Outreach Committee. Within the Outreach Committee, he is volunteering with elementary school children at Booker T Washington. Talking about a catapult building activity he worked with the children on, he described how interesting it is to see how a child’s mind works. The kids were trying to keep one part of the catapult connected to the rest of it, and they were just adding more and more rubber bands to no avail. He was excited to help them understand what they could do to improve their design with the knowledge base that he now has, showing the kids different options to create a more robust design.
Johnny is also a musician and an artist. As a drummer, he was in marching band in high school and Evanston Escola de Samba, a Latin drumming group. He found that learning an instrument changed his appreciation for music, as it made him aware of his place and function in an ensemble as a rhythmic leader of tempo and musical cues.
Johnny was initially inspired to try his hand in art by his father, who loved to draw and sketch, and eventually created professional photography. He wanted to try to create something with a unique style like his dad was able to create. He remembers spending hours drawing in tracing books that had Pokémon and Nintendo characters, trying to make lines match up and learning to love the simple skills it taught him. In high school, he took an introductory class that gave him the fundamental skills he feels he can now use as a basis to help him pursue specific technique he wants to pursue. Today, he will still make sketches of characters, and create beautiful watercolor compositions to add to group projects. He said he likes to run his hand around on a page randomly and make something out of the lines he generates, not worrying about if the final composition will turn out as he intended or not, just as an exercise in creativity.
Looking forward, Johnny has many different interests and is considering a program next summer to study automotive work and assembly in Germany. His great empathy and creativity will without a doubt make Johnny an incredible member of whatever project he decides to dedicate his time to next.