A calendar packed with meetings, calls and lab visits may sound like a typical workday for many — but for Luca Lofranco, whose greatest wish was to experience what it’s like to work at NVIDIA, it was a dream come true.
Eighteen-year-old Lofranco recently traveled from his hometown near Toronto, Canada, to spend the day at our Santa Clara campus, supported by Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit that grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The wish from Lofranco, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was the fifth NVIDIA has been a part of in the last decade.
The NVIDIA team kept the day’s agenda a secret — surprising Lofranco with tours of the demo room and robotics lab, a chat with the University Recruiting team, a ride in a self-driving car and a video call with NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang. An aspiring computer science major, Lofranco was stoked for it all because, as his mom Cassandra shared, “NVIDIA is his Disneyland.”
A Long-Time NVIDIA Fan
After attending his first computer science summer camp when he was eight, Lofranco learned 3D modeling in Autodesk Maya, programming in Python, as well as 3D printing. His budding interest in tech grew and, soon enough, he was building his own gaming rigs.
NVIDIA quickly became Lofranco’s favorite tech company, he said, so much so that he carved the company logo out of a piece of wood using a computer numerical control machine.
For gaming, he enjoys using NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPUs. But Lofranco’s ultimate draw to NVIDIA wasn’t its products but its culture.
“Everyone is driven to see the same outcome and comes together to make it happen,” he said. “Everything is designed for collaboration.”
A VIP Experience
Ahead of Lofranco’s visit, the NVIDIA team sent him a box of swag — including a hoodie, a hat and a custom NVIDIA badge.
Once he arrived on campus, NVIDIA volunteers welcomed and whisked Lofranco off on a campus tour, followed by a meeting with the solutions architect team, which includes NVIDIANs focused on healthcare, auto, AI, cloud service providers and large language models.
Next, a visit to the robotics lab helped satisfy Lofranco’s “maker” curiosity. He saw an NVIDIA DGX Station as well as test robots for developing the NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform, and was soon directing a robot arm to stack colored blocks.
After learning that Lofranco’s favorite foods include lobster, tiramisu and Kit Kat candy bars, the café team prepared a special menu for him and all employees in the office that day. Everyone enjoyed a lobster roll pop-up station in the campus park and tiramisu-flavored ice cream with assorted toppings, including Kit Kat pieces.
On a visit to the demo room at NVIDIA’s Santa Clara site, Lofranco and his father revealed that they tinker with innovations themselves. They programmed their water heater in the family hot tub to maintain a comfortable temperature and decrease the time needed to warm it — all thanks to Python code and Raspberry Pi experimentation.
With so much to soak in, Lofranco described his wish day at NVIDIA as “unfathomable” — and that was before his video call with Huang, which stretched from a planned quarter hour to 45 minutes.
After a conversation that spanned NVIDIA’s origins, many near failures and innovation, Huang gifted Lofranco a GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition GPU and shared some sound advice: “Keep playing video games — but make sure to prioritize your homework.”
Capping a packed day of fun-filled support from nearly 50 NVIDIANs was a visit to the auto lab and a spin in one of NVIDIA’s self-driving test cars.
How was it all? “Breathtaking,” said Lofranco, who learned firsthand from Huang that while NVIDIA has evolved from being the underdog to a leading tech company, it still feels “like a family.”
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