Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

Jason Dunn

Jason DunnJason Dunn is the cofounder and CTO of Made in Space. Made In Space is the only company to off-world manufacture, having built the first objects ever made in space in 2014. With two operational 3D printers on the International Space Station, Made In Space provides commercial space manufacturing services to NASA, government agencies, and commercial users. Jason founded Made In Space in 2010 as a result of analyzing the best possible approaches to enabling a fully sustainable form of space colonization. With a core focus on space manufacturing, the company has since built, flown, and operated the first and second 3D printers in space. Installed on the International Space Station, the first Made In Space Zero Gravity 3D printer began space manufacturing in November 2014. Today Made In Space operates the second-generation 3D printer on the ISS, called the Additive Manufacturing Facility, enabling groups across the planet to have hardware manufactured in space.  

Jason holds two degrees in Aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida, has studied at the Singularity University Graduate Summer Program, and is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of space exploration, advanced manufacturing, and the theory of disruption.  In 2014, Jason and his three co-founders were recognized by Forbes on the prestigious 30 under 30 list for manufacturing.

Credits: NASA Ames
Research Center

Florida Space Grant Connections: Supported as an intern at NASA and helped with Tuition at Singularity University which led to him and 2 others creating Made in Space. 


Nicholas Rongione

Nicholas Rongione, a former FSGC Ambassador at the University of Miami was awarded a  National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He will be focusing on developing aerospace applications of nanotechnology, and in particular, thermoelectric materials development. As a participant in the FSGC Hybrid Motor Rocket Competition my freshman year in 2011-2012, he gained invaluable insight into project management and rocketry. Most importantly, the experience inspired him to delve deeper into aerospace engineering, and served as a springboard into additional projects over the following years as an undergraduate. By sophomore year, he became the President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the FSGC Student Ambassador at the University of Miami. With support from FSGC, he then completed the NASA Propulsion Academy in the summer of 2013. In his junior year he furthered his efforts and began a two year endeavor developing a satellite program at UM that culminated in 2nd place in the FSGC sponsored Florida University Satellite Design Competition (FUNSAT 2014) and, ultimately, his senior design project. During this time he also participated in the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. Finally, FSGC provided additional support in his efforts to create a balloon satellite program, and a satellite ground station, and even help address concerns regarding rocket testing facilities. Now as a graduate student, he is supported by FSGC in a grant to work at NASA Kennedy Space Center on antimicrobial materials development employed in the Advanced Nano Systems Laboratory.

Frank Monzon

2006 Florida Space Grant Scholar “The experience you need to succeed at the next level” One of my professors introduced me to the Florida Space Grant program in 2006 while I was attending the University of Florida. He graciously mentored me in research methods for astrodynamics in association with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This research eventually became the basis for my presentation on cube and modular satellites at a regional conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The hands-on experience gained through internships and the aerospace elective class on satellite design involved not just setting up a team, but also living out the process of project development. This was more than just a learning environment that developed my abilities in research, scientific writing methods, and formal presentations…it served an extension into real world experiences that I rely upon to this day.

One of my goals was to earn a master’s degree in both science and business to expand my professional options. The foundational skills I learned though the Florida Space Grant program concerning project management, communication, and writing have served me well since the topics and projects are always changing.

I now work in private sector aerospace and our company is currently developing a new 737 aircraft that offers various features to accommodate individuals with reduced mobility. I’m quite proud of it as it is not just an innovation, it will also tangibly improve the quality of life for those with physical disabilities.

The Florida Space Grant program greatly expanded the scope of my professional options because it did more than just look good on my resume; it provided concrete knowledge and skills that enabled me to secure my first job at Boeing.
The program will definitely take you out of your comfort zone, but it will also give you the experience you need to succeed at the next level.

Frank Monzon
B/E Aerospace
Design Engineer

Marcus Johnson

2008-2011 Florida Space Grant Fellow, “Gave me the toolset to do research” I am a first-generation college student and the only one in my family to pursue a doctorate degree. The Florida Space Grant program taught me to think about things differently and allowed me to graduate with a degree that my family could not afford to give me. I am very grateful for their assistance.
While at the University of Florida I participated in the Space Grant program from 2008 to 2011 and researched application-based control systems theory. Among other things, this led to working on satellite alignment clustering. More importantly however, it afforded me the opportunity to expand those applied theories into my dissertation. This essentially became a research platform that I used in real world applications.

Even before being accepted into the program, I knew that I wanted to pursue career in aerospace engineering, but the opportunities the Florida Space Grant provided really allowed me to explore my various interests more deeply through application-specific projects. Being involved with these projects enabled me to significantly narrow my focus and find areas where I could give valuable contributions to the field.

The Space Grant program helped me to investigate programs in a rich and thorough way by encouraging questions, individual investigations, conceptual exploration, and collaborative solutions that moved the “state of the art” forward. Although these things did not directly prepare me for later employment at NASA Armstrong, Boeing, and NASA Ames (where I am now), it was indirectly invaluable; it gave me the research tools to excel at each of those places because I learned both in theory and in the field. In a very real sense, I felt empowered to transform the conceptual into reality.

Possessing these tools has greatly benefited my current work as a flight test director for UAF (drones) traffic management. In conjunction with the FAA, we are developing technology to safely manage the anticipated increase in the use of these drones.
Ultimately, the Florida Space Grant program allowed me to pursue higher education instead of being forced to choose a career that was necessary to pay bills. I am a firm believer that you should pursue your interests and continually apply what you learn to other applications until you are employed in your field of interest.

Marcus Johnson
NASA Ames Research Center
Research Aerospace Engineer
UAS Traffic Management Project

Jennifer Kissinger

2006-2008 Florida Space Grant, “Opened my eyes to the vast array of options available to me”  While I was attending the Florida Institute of Technology, the Florida Space Grant program funded my internship at the NASA Academy program in California at NASA Ames Research Center. This was a completely immersive program that included not only research, but leadership training as well.

Although the program definitely provided a number of academic and professional benefits, there was also a personal benefit. While participating in this program, I was one of several people who met their future spouse.

My specific role in the 10-week program was to examine Martian soil samples and determine their morphologies [?]. Additionally, there were several trips and tours included in the program that allowed our team to network with top leaders in the space aeronautics industry.
Just being around the like-minded, intellectually curious, and gifted students who were part of the Florida Space Grant was inspiring and helped to expand and develop my own areas of strength. It was also a wonderful opportunity to hone my leadership and teamwork skills–which paid dividends as I progressed through the program.

While completing my graduate work at UCLA, I chose to focus on space physics which only served to reinforce my long-term goal to work at NASA Goddard Space Center. Our cohort used 10 to 15 years of data gathered from satellites to conduct statistical analysis concerning the interactions of solar influences.

Though it was rewarding work, I am currently a software engineer in the healthcare industry, largely because of my husband’s profession, and am hopeful that I can eventually transition back into the space industry.

There is no question that the opportunities provided by the Florida Space Grant program opened my eyes to the vast array of options that were available to me. But more importantly, the program provided a network of connections and internships that enabled me to actually explore and pursue those options.

I was just very fortunate to benefit from a lot of great professional direction and advice and will always be grateful to the program.

Jennifer Kissinger
Sofware Engineer
Jack Russell Software

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