Name: Arisa Takenaka Trombley

Major: B.S. Computer Science ‘24, M.S. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science ‘25

Minor: Game Development Programming

Extracurricular Involvements: Events Coordinator for Computer Science Club, Nikkei Student Union (NSU), Juggling Club, former Real Estate Intern for Blackbird Realty and Management, Inc.

Throughout the spring semester, many Fowler School of Engineering (FSE) students will begin their search for summer internships and research opportunities. Alternatively, this summer will transition FSE’s first cohort of M.S. students into their first full year of rigorous graduate education. One of those students accepted into the M.S. in EECS program is Arisa Trombley.

Prior to her acceptance to the M.S. in EECS program, Trombley was an active member of Chapman’s community. Serving as Events Coordinator for the Computer Science Club, as well as an active member of Chapman’s Nikkei Student Union (NSU) and Juggling Club, Trombley has been a prominent and proactive contributor to student club life at Chapman. But what many students may not know about Trombley is her passion for learning and coding, shown through her previous internship with Kazvu Labs.

While at Kazvu Labs, Trombley was involved in a variety of programming and computer vision tasks. Through her experiences with Kazvu Labs, Trombley has highlighted the possibilities that come with combining prior industry knowledge with higher academia. Trombley shares her experiences as an intern and full-time student with Fowler Engineering, as well as some words of encouragement for students pursuing similar opportunities.

A Surprise Encounter

Leading up to her interview with Kazvu Labs, Trombley connected with her professors on-campus, establishing connections with FSE faculty and networking with other students. “I was just good friends with all my professors. I think that helped me just to go into something like [this internship] confidently,” she said.

Additionally, Trombley made use of some of FSE’s professional development opportunities from the Career Center prior to being unknowingly interviewed with Kazvu Labs. “I interviewed with Panasonic Avionics through Fowler Engineering’s Mock Interviews event, before I went to talk to Kazvu Labs,” she said. 

However, when touring the facilities at Kazvu Labs, Trombley was surprised to know that her stellar performance in Fowler Engineering, coupled with her reputation amongst other students, earned her an interview on the spot. “I really didn’t know I was gonna get interviewed and they just kind of asked me to go in for a tour and then started interviewing me. I was unprepared but I think that worked out in my favor,” she said.

Since then, Trombley has been working diligently with the company and has worked on a variety of projects and day-to-day tasks. She said, “I work on the computer vision side of things and I’m writing programs and C++ for computer vision using different cameras and on one of these small computers.” Trombley has chronicled her work through many outlets, from notes to office time lapses, showcasing her work to other Fowler students and faculty alike.

Overcoming Traditional Challenges as a Student Intern

Thanks to her internship at Kazvu, Trombley’s last year in her undergraduate program will look different from previous years. Trombley honed her time management skills through challenging schedules and shifting priorities.“I think I was looking at 20+ hours between studying for my classes and working at my internship at the beginning of last semester,” she said.

Trombley turned to the Fowler Engineering community for words of advice. “My professor, Anthony Lemus, helped me a lot because he told me that work is not the priority. School is the priority. My coworkers also reminded me that my mental health is important and to take long breaks for lunch,” she said. “I was able to reduce my 30+ hour work week to a 10-19 hour work week between my internship and classes.”

Since recognizing her strengths and areas for improvement, Trombley pressed forward into unfamiliar territory: graduate education. As with other 4+1 students, Trombley has since started her first year of graduate school coursework. Thanks to her internship, Trombley has carried valuable lessons from her work experience and has honed those skills in time and stress management into her Master’s education experience.

“I feel I know what my capabilities are, and just problem-solving in general, because of my internship,” she said.

Advice for Students

Now equipped with some of the most valuable industry knowledge offered by both her undergraduate mentors and internship, Trombley encourages students to make the most of their college experience.

Definitely look for resources amongst your professors and ask them for their input,” she said.  “A lot of professors at Chapman also have other things going on that they could connect you to.”

Some of the examples Trombley gave included research opportunities, connections with industry professionals, and more. Moreover, Trombley encouraged students to reframe this process of getting to know your Fowler Engineering community.

In terms of preparing for graduate education, though, Trombley noted the importance of not only knowing your passions but also solidifying your purpose and motivations for pursuing an education with Fowler Engineering.

“I’d say that if you’re interested in the program, just know what path you like and what you’re passionate about. Have crystal reasons why you’re gonna do it because obviously, when you go into a graduate program and higher education, you’re just getting more focused and targeted. You’re just getting more targeted classes for you, so you have to be more passionate, more interested in what you’re learning if you wanna have a good time,” she said.

Learn more about how to get career preparation at Fowler through our Career Resources page. Explore our very first MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program through our Graduate Education page.