by LIZ ONUFER | photo by Mark Hopkins Photography

STEM Savvy


Philip Hwang’s career with Carlsbad-based ViaSat is paying off in more ways than one. Not only did his work help him relocate to 92009, it has also connected him with his volunteer role at Carlsbad Educational Foundation. In his profession, Philip is a software engineer for ViaSat, and as a volunteer through the company, he is a coach for Science Olympiad, helping students compete in science tournaments.

Philip relocated to Carlsbad from the East Coast six years ago. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in computer science and began his career with ViaSat there. Now happily settled in Carlsbad, he admitted, “I enjoy the slower pace of life outside big cities and the SoCal vibes are pretty chill.”

Philip first began volunteering with the Carlsbad Educational Foundation coaching and teaching middle school students how to build rockets and helicopters. “I think the best feeling is seeing students come back year after year with a strong interest in STEM fields,” Philip acknowledged. “Just knowing you helped teach them and spark some interest is a wonderful feeling.”
Philip’s own interest in STEM was fueled by his family. His dad is a retired engineer, and his mom is a retired nurse. “Both have pushed the sciences and technology fields, sparking a lot of interest as a kid,” he explained.

“I think the best feeling is seeing students come back year after year with strong interest in STEM fields.”

His childhood in Virginia, surrounded by woods and rivers, also nurtured Philip’s love for nature. He has found plenty of new areas to explore near 92009. “From the hiking perspective, I’m currently exploring the Coast to Crest Trail as sections of that 70-mile trail are built,” he said. “There are also numerous sections of the Pacific Coast Trail here in San Diego that are quite fun!”

Philip has found the perfect blend of technology and nature in North County. While he loves to relax at local cafes with his phone and work on his photo editing, he balances that with time on the trail. “I love video games and VR and technology and space,” he shared. “And on the other side, I enjoy hiking into the mountains and wilderness and getting away from all that technology.”


Name: Philip Hwang
Community: Carlsbad
Volunteer Affiliation: Carlsbad Educational Foundation Science Olympiad coach
Profession: Software Engineer at ViaSat
Hobbies & Interests: Video games, computer science, hiking, baking

Name of Group: Carlsbad Educational Foundation
Group’s Purpose: Investing in our children’s future success through education for all students in the Carlsbad Unified School District by developing and funding impactful programs.