Romina Rodriguez received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. During graduate school she interned at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore in the Combustion Research Facility. Before returning to graduate school for her PhD, Romina worked at Northrop Grumman as a mechanical engineer in the Thermal Analysis and Design Group. In September 2014, she joined the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO) research group where her focus is on waste heat recovery in vehicles.
Romina grew up in southern California where she discovered her love for solving technical problems, through working with her father at a very young age. This interest in tinkering with mechanical equipment and tools, as well as excelling in science and math propelled her to major in engineering. Once arriving at UC Berkeley, she quickly became interested in studying mechanical engineering with applications in energy. While at Berkeley, she conducted undergraduate research in the Combustion and Fire Processes Laboratory (CFPL) investigating flammability of materials in microgravity. She also took part in a summer research program at MIT in the Sloan Automotive Laboratory where she characterized the elemental composition of ash in Diesel Particulate Filters.
After completing her B.S. from UC Berkeley, she continued on to pursue her Master of Science degree, focusing on heat transfer and energy technology. During her second year in the Masters program, she interned as a graduate student researcher at the Combustion Research Facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California. Her project consisted of modeling a DISI engine to understand efficiency gain for different fuel injection timings. Besides focusing on her studies, Romina was very involved in exposing and getting younger students interested in the STEM fields. She participated in many science outreach programs, from teaching renewable energy concepts in an elementary school to teaching high school students about engineering. Her passion for outreach stems from what she felt was a lack of motivation and exposure to the STEM fields prior to college, which would encourage people to become involved in engineering. She believes that if more people were exposed from a young age to the exciting and challenging problems that can be solved through engineering, many more would pursue it as a career.
Romina worked in industry after her Masters, gaining a position at Northrop Grumman where she worked with an amazing team in the Thermal Analysis and Design group. During her time there, she gained invaluable work experience and was able to solve many real-world engineering problems. While at Northrop, she was a mentor in the high school robotics outreach program and worked with highly motivated students to teach them about engineering through VEX robotics.
In September 2014, Romina started the PhD program at McMaster University and joined the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO) research group under Professor Ali Emadi. She continues to pursue her interest and research in heat transfer by working on waste heat recovery in vehicles for her PhD thesis. She hopes she can apply these waste heat recovery technologies to a variety of waste heat sources in the future.