BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A local graduate from WVU Tech recently received the opportunity of a lifetime with one of the best tech companies in the world.

Antonio Fernández Castaño came to Tech all the way from Spain because of the opportunity to play soccer while studying in the mechanical engineering program.

“My main goal was to be able to help people. From a young age, I really liked to mess with things in my house to see how everything works, how to fix things or design new things, that kind of stuff. I knew my path was engineering, specifically mechanical,” Fernández explained.

The more personal class sizes also stuck out to him.

“I thought it would be better for my learning experience, and it really was. It’s a really efficient way to learn everything and get to interact with your classmates. It was great,” said Fernández.

In addition to being a student-athlete, he was also the president of Pi Tau Sigma fraternity, a member of the mechanical engineering honor society, President of the Fluid Power Club.

In May 2022, Fernández graduated WVU Tech. He wanted to go into the engineering industry, but he wanted to learn more and do more research about it. In order for this to happen, it led him on a journey to get his master’s degree at the University of Nevada Reno, where he is currently a graduate research assistant.

“After graduation, I wanted to further my education to better myself because I want to work in the industry but also wanted to do research. I wanted to know how things worked at a higher level. I thought it was a great way to get research and work experience,” said Fernández.

Fernández had a few internships and valuable experiences while at Tech, which included two in his home country of Spain and one in the United States. During these internships, he explored renewable energy, solar panels and clean energy.

He hopes to work in the automotive industry and with electric vehicles, which is why this internship was perfect for him. Fernández started going to a career fairs and asked the engineers at Tesla how they liked working there.

“You hear Tesla and think oh that’s super cool, but I wanted to know how it really was working there,” he said.

Soon later, the engineers from Tesla sent Fernández an email a week after to come to the Giga factory in Nevada.

“I was super excited, and I loved it. It was a process for them to see how involved you are. They get thousands and thousands of applicants, so they wanted to see how much you wanted to be there. Afterward, they had a day where students are invited to go to the factory. They have tables set up and they showcase what they do and what teams they have,” he explained.

After hearing about projects Fernández had been a part of at WVU Tech, the engineers with Tesla were reportedly impressed. The Tesla team were already interested in him at that point and they told him they were already interested in selecting him as an intern.

“Get yourself out there and be prepared for anything,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect that day. Maybe at a career fair you expect to talk to teams of people, but not always.

“Put yourself out there, get prepared for any opportunities that come,” he said. “The main thing really was just putting myself out there. If you don’t put yourself out there and they (potential employers) don’t get to know you, you don’t get a chance.”

Fernández will start his internship with Tesla in May 2023.