Jack portrait
Jack Lanzi New York, NY School of Engineering
I was actually at SpaceX doing spacesuit design, which was a really fun way to take the clothing I loved and passion in sewing and the engineering I was learning here and put it all to practice.
Systems and Technology

As someone who enjoys building things, Jack is excited about his mechanical engineering coursework in fabrication and design. Given the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) department’s focus on manufacturing, Jack became accustomed to the larger scale of his projects, including the Gamma Type Sterling engine, which Jack built using mills and lathes in Penn’s Precise Machining Lab. Jack benefits from the classes he took with experts in the field, including Professor Kevin Turner whose research in additive engineering reimagines the future of materials used in manufacturing. Additionally, Jack counts Professor Robert Carpick, an expert in friction research, as one of his most important mentors. Not only did Professor Carpick commit to learning all his students’ names in MEAM 110:Introduction to Mechanics, but he also helped Jack refresh his physics knowledge during office hours. Moreover, when Jack organized a panel on being out in academia, Professor Carpick shared insights based on his own experiences.


Jack’s minor in design through the Weitzman School of Design complements his engineering coursework. As an engineer, Jack prizes solution-focused thinking and functionality. Yet in his design classes,Jack considers other dimensions such as user experience and aesthetics. Jack believes that his coursework, which spans architecture, visual studies, and art history, has helped him navigate the nexus of engineering and design. Jack has since applied his skills on a range of projects including a modern chess set with sheer polycarbonate pieces and a shiny and compact metal fortune cookie. Jack now understands the role for engineers in art. In fact, his work on low-cost modular social robots in the Modular RoboticsLab (Modlab) at Penn was part of the Designs for Different Futures exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Penn Electric Racing is the University’s Formula SAE Electric Team. The accomplished and versatile team redesigns or builds an electric race car every year. Jack, a three-year member, led the driver interface group. He focused on optimizing the user experience, which includes everything from the braking and acceleration systems to the driver’s interactions with the seat, headrest, and steering wheel. He also improved steering comfort in a typically uncomfortable and compact race car. Jack’s work with Penn Electric Racing led to his internship at Tesla where he continued to innovate automotive seating components.

Creative and PerformingArts

For his high school’s senior project, Jack shared his passion for sewing and crafted a dress for his mother. On campus, Jack uses his sewing expertise on Penn Singers’ costuming team. Jack enjoys working with others as he stretches his skills and learns more about sketching, patterning, and design. For Penn Singers’ performance of Into the Woods, Jack is responsible for Red Riding Hood’s red rain jacket, which he is making entirely from scratch. Jack applies his sewing skills to manufacturing design as well. During his Tesla internship, Jack worked on soft trim and foam seating. His team redesigned the car’s seat for greater comfort and ease of manufacturing at a lower cost. And, while interning at SpaceX, Jack was part of the spacesuit design team. In both automotive and aerospace engineering, Jack realized that sewing expertise was an important asset to the team.


Jack identifies with the maker mentality. For his high school’s senior year project, Jack drew on his passion for sewing and crafted a dress for his mother. At Penn, Jack is a Mechanical Engineering major, focusing on fabrication and design for manufacturing including hands-on work in the Precision Machining Laboratory. Jack took his first mechanical engineering class with Professor Robert Carpick, an expert in friction research, who became Jack’s mentor and participated in a panel that Jack moderated about being out in academia. Jack is also pursuing a minor in the Weitzman School of Design to better connect function, user experience, and aesthetics in his engineering projects. Jack’s intellectual curiosity is wide-ranging, and he has taken impactful liberal arts courses in queer narrative cinema, political science, international relations, and visual studies.

Jack applies his engineering and design skills in internships at Tesla, where he worked on redesigning the seat for the Model 3, and at SpaceX, where he was on the spacesuit team. Next, he will be working on the iPhone Product Design team in an eight-month internship at Apple.On campus, Jack is working on Penn Singers’ fall show, Into the Woods, as a costume designer, using reclaimed materials to match the performance’s junkyard setting. Jack also led Penn Electric Racing’s driver interface team where he helped optimize the driver’s experience and the car’s performance.

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