This week is National Engineers Week! Learn more about how Nimitz High School graduate, Samuel Campos Diaz, is engineering his own path.

Born in El Salvador, Campos Diaz began his Irving ISD journey at the age of 8 when he first moved to the United States. He attended Lee, Hanes and Schulze elementary schools and would go on to attend Bowie Middle School before graduating from Nimitz High School in 2020.

While at Nimitz, Campos Diaz was a very involved student playing the bass clarinet for the band, punter for the football team, center back for the soccer team and was also a part of the engineering pathway.

“During halftime shows, I would be marching in my football uniform,” says Campos Diaz. “I would play some solos on the stage that they had set up, and I would be in my jersey and pads. It was fun!”

His multi-faceted approach allowed him to excel in other areas. Being a fan of both math and science, Campos Diaz found a natural home in his engineering classes. 

“I learned a lot about engineering through different computer-aided design (CAD) programs, obtaining certifications and working through the engineering process,” says Campos Diaz. “I really enjoyed it, which is one of the reasons why I was pretty confident about pursuing engineering after graduating.”

One of Campos Diaz’s most notable accomplishments while at Nimitz was getting to be a part of the team that developed a prosthetic arm for another student so she could play the cello.

“It was a very interesting and unique opportunity to be part of that project,” says Campos Diaz. “While I mostly focused on the part that would hold the bow itself, it afforded me the opportunity to delve into 3D printing, develop different iterations of things that work, things that didn’t work and just play around to figure out what the student would benefit from the most. We were invited to go see her perform in concert, and it was very fulfilling to see her be able to use the prosthetic we designed [for her] to play.”

Now a senior at Texas A&M University, Campos Diaz is looking forward to his last semester before graduating with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He hopes to continue his studies by obtaining a master’s degree and focusing on the research side of engineering or perhaps diving deeper into the world of aerospace engineering.

“The end goal would be to end up at a place like NASA, SpaceX or Boeing,” says Campos Diaz. “But we’ll see where my engineering career goes!”

In the meantime, Campos Diaz is focused on finishing his semester strong and completing his capstone project, where he and a team of five other students are working to solve a problem for Sandia National Laboratories.

“We were asked to make a device that compresses powder into pellets,” says Campos Diaz. “They flew us out to New Mexico, we toured the facility, and because they already have an existing device that’s giving them problems, we were tasked with making a better version of it.” 

While making a device for a research and development laboratory of the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration might seem stressful and intense, Campos Diaz has found an avenue that allows him to destress effectively – powerlifting.

“Powerlifting focuses on squats, deadlift and basically lifting heavy weights,” says Campos Diaz. “It has become my hobby and it gives me something to do outside of school that helps me mentally and physically, instead of having to worry about everything else like graduation, homework and grad school applications.”

Campos Diaz and the rest of the Texas A&M powerlifting team have their sights set on Atlanta, Georgia, where they will be competing at the USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals in April.

Until then, Campos Diaz will continue to keep doing what he’s doing while imparting some words of wisdom to current students.

“Bet on yourself. You are the only one that can be the one to push yourself to the next level. Be your number one supporter and your number one advocate,” he says.

Irving ISD wishes you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. The sky is the limit!