Averell Wallach

BS (‘17)
Industrial Engineer, SpaceX

What are you currently working on?
Sending folks to Mars! I am working with a small “data team” to ensure manufacturing problems do not become a risk to launch. We developed a machine learning algorithm to detect and assess risky issues to facilitate our transition to manned space flight.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Communicating my assumptions to skeptical engineers. I tend to get attached to ideas that are my own, and this can lead to healthy debate surrounding the right way to
approach a problem. I find it challenging to get out of my own skin and look at the
problem from another viewpoint to make sure I am making the right call.

What was the most important thing you learned while studying at Cal?
Explicitly state the assumptions of your model/proposed solution. Even if you are right, you often need to dig deep to explain your reasoning to convince others.

Do you have any advice for current IEOR students?
Don’t be afraid to make your own path. Asking friends for course advice can be
reassuring, but they can be wrong (too)! Challenge yourself to follow your interests.