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Student Profiles

Julian Brown
Julian Brown

Julian Brown, Aspiring Aeronautical Engineer

The Sky is not the limit, it is just the beginning.

Humankind has always been captivated by the sky and the stars above. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that aerospace engineering helped us not just reach them, but traverse them, connecting us to different parts of our world and even universe. Developing these types of flight-capable machines is what Julian Brown intends to make his life’s work. As an ambitious senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering, Brown aspires to become an aeronautical engineer, a dream he has had his whole life. And one, he says, that could not have been possible without the scholarship assistance he received from Santa Clara’s generous endowed fund benefactors.

Brown has been a deserving recipient of the Catala Club Endowed Scholarship Fund for all four years at Santa Clara. The dedicated members of Catala are comprised of women of wide-ranging backgrounds, occupations, and faiths who have helped shape the future leaders of tomorrow through their incredible contributions. This year, Brown also received scholarship assistance from the Janice and Thomas Berthold Engineering Scholarship Fund thanks to his stellar academic performance. “As a first-generation college student,I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue an education and a career in aeronautical engineering,” he says gratefully. Over the course of his time at Santa Clara, Brown feels like the academic challenges he faced helped him grow in many ways. “I have learned an incredible amount about different subjects related to my field,” he says, noting that in his personal life he has become more active socially than in the past and has discovered a great deal about living in a diverse community of students and people. “This has been a very important experience for me because I grew up in a small town with little diversity in any regard.”

After remote learning during the pandemic, Brown says he has really appreciated engaging with his professors in person, emphasizing how face to face interactions foster greater connections and relationships. He also admits he was quite impressed by how much faculty rose to the occasion and how they incorporated creative teaching methods into their remote lessons.

This past summer, Brown completed an internship at the School of Engineering’s Robotic Systems Lab, led by Christopher Kitts, the William and Janice Terry Professor. Given his aptitude for mechanical-based thinking, he went into the internship to gain a better contextual understanding of how various engineering systems interact. Reflecting on his experience, he states, “It was an ideal opportunity for me to becoming a well-rounded engineer by being exposed to mechanical, electrical, and computer systems all integrated into one device.” He adds, “Getting a sense of how those systems go together through real-world engineering experience is so important.” Brown also counts the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation as a significant resource for furthering this cross-disciplinary mindset. “I think it could be used as a really valuable stepping stone toward making Santa Clara an even more competitive, cutting-edge institution.”

Brown also believes that it is the Jesuit tradition of nurturing and educating the whole person that has really inspired him to pursue his dreams—it is one of the reasons he chose to attend SCU in the first place. Growing up in a small town where fishing and tourism were the main industries, and as a restaurant employee himself, Brown understands the importance of self-development, no matter your chosen career path. It’s this notion of lifelong learning that speaks to him most. He points out, “I would never think that when I receive my diploma, that paper says I know what I’m doing. As a lifelong learner, I am consistently refining the craft and conducting an internal audit on my logic.” Brown hopes it is this kind of philosophy, a hallmark of Ignatian spirituality, that will drive his future career in aeronautics and help him be “a better engineer tomorrow than I was today.” It is clear this humble human will continue that quest until he reaches the stars.