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Glenn Research Center Launches Rocket University Pilot

Glenn Research Center (GRC) welcomed 12 early-career engineers to its Rocket University pilot program.

Designed to train early-career employees through hands-on experience with the full lifecycle of a flight project, GRC’s Rocket University (“Rocket U”) program seeks to develop the next-generation workforce. The program held its orientation ceremony at the Guerin Management Center on Thursday, November 14 and featured Deputy Center Director Gregory Robinson as the opening speaker.

“Everyone gets to go through the full project lifecycle at some point in their career,” said Robinson, after the orientation. “What we’re trying to do with Rocket University is accelerate that because once you go through a lifecycle, you understand the total development process. You understand requirements, preliminary design, integration, and testing. And when you do get on a large flight project, you better understand what you have to do in each of those phases, what to look for, and what to look forward to.”

Following Robinson’s opening remarks, the Rocket U participants and supervisors engaged in a series of activities including an orientation to the program, a discussion with NASA veteran Joe Neiberding, a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator workshop, and a Lego planning exercise to evaluate the cohort’s teamwork skills.

The Rocket U class also heard from the project managers of each of the five projects the participants will select from as part of their hands-on training for the program. This aspect of the training allows participants to better understand the various stages of a project, develop a foundation for basic project planning skills, and an awareness of safety and quality assurance practices. Additional training is provided through a combination of APPEL courses, center-based courses, subject matter experts, applied laboratories, and mentoring, furthering each participant’s opportunity to gain technical knowledge and experience in a low-risk, low-cost environment.

Glenn’s Rocket U program seeks to demonstrate the return on investment of its pilot and eventually grow to address advanced training on product engineering, systems engineering, and project management. With its inaugural class, the program intends to foster a culture of innovation, creativity, and learning to enable its workforce to achieve mission success.

To learn more about the program, please contact Rochelle Gallagher.


Rocket U teams working together during the Lego planning exercise.

Featured Photo Credit: NASA / Glenn Research Center

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