DCP Alumni Spotlight: Mauricio Rivera’s Journey to Space

This post is the first in our Alumni Spotlight Series, where we share the stories of DCP alumni who are accomplishing amazing things.

At DCP, students are encouraged from a young age to dream big and reach for the stars. For Mauricio Rivera—a DCP Class of 2011 alum and first-generation college graduate who is currently interning at Boreal Space—this lesson is now a reality.

Mauricio’s passion for computer engineering was sparked during his senior year in high school when he joined DCP’s Robotics club, run by two long-time supporters of our organization. The Robotics club instilled such a deep curiosity in Mauricio that he decided to pursue a degree in computer engineering after graduating in 2011.

Mauricio was a recipient of the DCP Scholarship, which helped fund his college education. Now, he’s inspired to give back to the community that helped him succeed through school and beyond.

“DCP has given me so much. I would have not gone through college if it weren’t for the help that DCP provided me. That is why, in a near future, I want to fund a DCP scholarship that will hopefully help a deserving student focus on academics and not tuition costs.”

Mauricio at his graduation from San Jose State University in 2017.

Though his chosen major was a challenging course of study, Mauricio persevered and in 2017, he graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in computer engineering.

Graduating from college was a life goal that I had for myself since middle school. [I focused] on the finish line and what it would mean to my family, especially my younger brother and younger cousins. I believe first-gen students have the privilege of being the catalyst of change for future generations in their family. My family was very proud because they came to the U.S with nothing, and they’re seeing their hard work pay off.”

With his degree under his belt, Mauricio is now interning as a software engineer at Boreal Space, where his responsibilities include working on software & debugging code. What excites him the most about his job are the opportunities he gets to learn from Silicon Valley veterans.

Mauricio (far left) and some of his team at Boreal Space along with Raymix, a musician and space enthusiast from Mexico who is one of the sponsors of their next launch.

“[At Boreal Space] I have a unique opportunity to be sitting in meetings with potential investors and customers that are twice my age and have way more experience than I do. It’s really exciting to be working on a [project] that will be going to space soon.”

As the end of the year approaches, Mauricio and his team are busy preparing for their upcoming launch. DCP is sponsoring this next mission, a suborbital launch of a CubeSat (or mini satellite) that is also hosting experiments from Stanford, Singapore, and Japan. You can learn more about this mission on Boreal Space’s blog.

A mock-up of the CubeSat.