Hi, I'm Nicole.

I’m a product designer focused on tackling systems problems with equity in mind to bring sustainable technology to the people who need it most. I am a former NASA JPL Engineer, current graduate student at Stanford University in Design Impact Engineering, and a teaching assistant at the Stanford Product Realization Lab.
Arrow down

Making Things

As a teaching assistant at the Stanford Product Realization Lab and Product Design Program, I have coached more than 200 students in over 1500 hours through learning design thinking tools, creativity, prototyping, & manufacturing. I have also offered specialized help in CAD, 3d printing, woodworking, sheet metal work, welding, CNC, and more.

Product Design

‍I have most recently been focused on climate equity design work, including more efficient coral restoration tools, dignified disaster relief, and household water purification.
Learn more about:
Coral Restoration Tools →React: Flood Mapping Project →SunFilter Water Purification →

Engineering

Prior to graduate school, I worked for 3 years at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), developing and testing electronic systems for both the Psyche asteroid exploration mission and the Perseverance Mars Rover.

My work included conducting testing and debug of Mars Rover & Descent stage motor control hardware in a class 10000 cleanroom, serving as Board Integration & Test Deputy Lead for a team of 8 engineers, and designing electronic configurations and manufacturing plans for the Command & Data Handling system to observe the metal asteroid Psyche. While there, I received the JPL Discovery Award for my contributions.

However, in 2017, after a string of hurricanes battered the Caribbean, where my family lives, I found it impossible to focus on anything other than the millions left without power, without clean water, without a roof, without access to essential services. I made the decision to leave my career at NASA in pursuit of working on problems with more direct social impact.

Exploratory work

I believe that intentional design communicates care. I think a lot about how to elegantly weave together the emotional and physical in the things I create, how to create intuitive things that feel like they were made just for you, and how to capture the essence of complex ideas and communicate them spatially to create points of connection and inspire important conversations. To that end, I love exploring the affordances of different mediums and manufacturing processes, including wood, metal, plastics, textiles, electronics, ceramics, watercolor, photography, and found materials.

More About Me

I grew up between northern Virginia and Puerto Rico with a large, close-knit Cuban and Puerto Rican family. In my spare time, I can often be found undertaking volunteer or DIY projects, playing beach volleyball, or spending time with friends and family. I am also a passionate traveler. Among my favorite trips have been Egypt, which amazed me with it’s ancient history showing how engineering and art have been deeply connected for over 3600 years, and Brazil, for its natural beauty and spirit of the people. And a fun fact: I’m a latin dancer and was a salsa choreographer for Princeton’s latin dance company - our shows sold out!

Let's Connect

Arrow up