George Gorospe can hardly contain his enthusiasm when he talks about working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This spring he completed his Bachelor's degree in Engineering and is now on his way to the NASA leadership Academy.
He and other students will travel for the next 10 weeks, learning about current missions and meeting with companies that work with NASA. He then heads to the NASA Ames Research Center in San Jose, Calif. to begin work as a research engineer.
Gorospe is fascinated by robots. In an Electrical and Computer Engineering class last spring on mobile autonomous robots he worked with other students designing a control system to allow a small quad-rotor helicopter to maneuver in Professor Rafael Fierro's robotics lab.
In this video below, he demonstrates their research.
Gorospe received the MEP Outstanding Leadership Award from the School of Engineering which cited his work as the president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and president and founder of the first Robotics Club in the School of Engineering. He also received a handmade star quilt from one of his advisors in Engineering Student Services. The quilt honored him as a person the community looks up to and is a reminder of his Native American heritage.
Gorospe graduated from the Santa Fe Indian School in a small high school senior class of 50 students before coming to UNM. Once at the university he seized every possible opportunity, including a summer course offered to Native American students by NASA.
In the audio interview below, he talks about how he managed to turn a summer learning opportunity into a chance for his dream career.
My Summer at NASA
Gorospe says a big part of his success came from the strong support system at the School of Engineering Student Services. Engineering Student Services Director Steve Peralta and Senior Academic Advisor Lourdes Garcia-O'Keefe worked closely with him as he applied for various scholarships and internships.
He says, "They really helped me stay on track when I got distracted. I spent so much time there working on applications and essays and they were always great." Gorospe says he would like to attend graduate school in the future, but first he wants to learn everything he can at NASA Ames.