Jennifer Geehan’s future did not go as planned…
When she graduated from Florida Tech in May with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and minor in Flight Technology, she intended to go on to graduate school. Then SpaceX called. Does SpaceX call? Or do they send you a holographic message via self-driving Tesla? Either way, it’s pretty cool.
She signed on as a launch intern in the Payload Integration Department for the summer. Specifically, she worked with the Dragon capsule.
“It is the coolest thing I have ever done,” Geehan said. “I have gotten the chance to do things I had only dreamed of previously.”
In fact, it was so cool and she was so good at the job, that SpaceX asked if they could extend her internship to December. How could she say “no” to that? Geehan is hoping the internship eventually becomes a full-time position, although she still plans to pursue her graduate work here at Florida Tech.
“I always intended to get a master’s degree, and I will still do that, just as a part-time student,” Geehan said. “So rather than a year and a half to two years, it will take me three years. It is going to be hard, but worth it.”
She has had plenty of support from her colleagues and professors along the way.
Dr. Brian Kish, assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, taught Geehan in many of her flight courses. He could tell early on that she would go far.
“Her dedication, positive attitude and abilities to lift her teammates make her stand out as a student,” Dr. Kish said. “I’m not surprised one bit that SpaceX extended her internship through the fall.”
Geehan sees her time at Florida Tech as an essential stepping stone to her SpaceX internship. In addition to the coursework, she also learned how to work with people in hands-on experiences.
“Senior Design definitely prepared me the most as it was a good taste of what it’s like to work on a project in the real world,” Geehan said. “You work with a team, you solve problems as they arise, order parts, deal with delays and setbacks, and make sure everything works together and doesn’t affect the other systems.”
She’s hoping this experience will help her reach the ultimate goal of one day becoming an astronaut. Geehan has already seen her hard work pay off, and encourages others to continue to reach for their dreams.
“Work hard, but don’t forget to live,” Geehan said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the what ifs and be hard on yourself when everyone else around you seems to be oozing success. The number of jobs and internships I have applied for and not received is pretty high, but in the end, it all worked out.”