SpaceX co-op Justin Johnson looks to the Stars

March 15, 2018

Headshot of Justin JohnsonCurrently on co-op at SpaceX, Justin Johnson has his head in the clouds. A senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johnson gravitated towards engineering at a young age, which manifested in his love of building with Legos® or household repair. As an adult, it’s the challenge of tackling a difficult problem that has motivated him to pursue his education at the Speed School, looking now to a future in aerospace engineering, which has fostered opportunities to engage those interests.

During his time at the Speed School, Johnson has served on the River City Rocketry team several times, most recently in a leadership position as the Lead Vehicle Design Engineer. It was during his tenure in that position that the team took home a win at the NASA Student Launch Competition in 2017. That experience helped focus and galvanize his interest in pursuing a career, allowing him opportunities to manage and collaborate with a team. He attributes his success equally to the opportunities afforded to him as a student in the engineering school, which have provided him a nurturing environment to foster his evolving interest in aerospace and mechanical engineering.

“Being on the team also taught me a lot of intangible things that are crucial in complicated engineering projects, but really difficult to teach in a classroom," said Johnson. "All these project management skills I learned really taught me what is required to successfully lead a NASA Student Launch team, and helped us earn a first place finish in the national competition in 2017.”

With graduation nearing and his co-ops soon to be behind him, Johnson continues to have his head in the clouds, looking forward to new opportunities. He attributes his successes to holding on to the passion that originally motivated him to attend the Speed School, his love for creating, and remains optimistic that he can employ those skills for the betterment of everyone. His experiences have encouraged in him a desire to do greater, not only for his own self-interest but to advance the entire world.

“My goals for the future include working on rocket propulsion systems that will be used to expand humanity’s reach in the universe," he said. "Rocket propulsion is one of the most technical and demanding fields of engineering, and being a part of the progression of that technology not only inspires me to be the best engineer I can be, but also excites me for what the future of humanity has in store.”