Daniella Bernal

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

College/School: College of Engineering & Computing


Daniella Bernal became an FIU student at just 16 years old with an FIU Presidential Scholarship. From the time she visited Cape Canaveral with her family, she decided to study mechanical engineering so that she could one day work in space travel. When she learned about a small company named Space X, Daniella set her sights on her future job and ensured each step of her educational career would lead her to her goal.

As she embarked on her senior year at FIU, she also landed the opportunity to work on the Falcon 9 – the workhorse of Space X’s operation that launches rockets and satellites into space. Moving to California to work for one of the world’s most innovative companies while maintaining her status as a full-time student and completing her senior year was one of the hardest challenges Daniella had ever undertaken. She now feels a tremendous sense of pride and knows that the future is bright for her.

In Daniella’s own words, “space is my sweet spot” and, thanks to her hard work, she is helping to change the future. As a sophomore, Daniella once said that her dream was to have something she worked on in space by the time she was 25 – something she achieved at just 20 years old when a wire harness she designed was used on the Merlin 1D engine, the powerhouse of the Falcon 9 rocket. Upon graduating, Daniella will continue to work on the cable interconnects between different flight computers, batteries, actuators and valves on the engines of Falcon 9 vehicle and on what she calls “mind blowing” designs of future interplanetary vehicles. 

By Jessica Drouet
Senior Account Manager, Office of Media Relations