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SpaceX corporate day

SpaceX schedules first visit to campus for job, internship interviews

November 9, 2015
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 If you’ve ever glanced to the stars and thought you’d like to create a rocket that will one day travel to one of those twinkling lights in the night sky, then make plans to check out the SpaceX corporate day on Thursday, Nov. 19.

SpaceX says it’s a company that believes “a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not.” With the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars, SpaceX is developing the tools and technologies to make those dreams a reality.

SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. Founded in 2002, the California-based company employs more than 4,000 people and is known for the Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft.

According to David Ortendahl, director of corporate relations in WPI’s Career Development Center, this is SpaceX’s first WPI visit and one that students interested in the field are anticipating. “In terms of brands, this is one our students would be very interested in,” he says.

WPI students can delve deep into SpaceX’s mission and hear more about how their skills and experience can help fill SpaceX’s talent needs, and also how they can start their careers at the company.

Meeting in person with SpaceX representatives helps both WPI students and SpaceX representatives. “Our students really value personal connections,” says Ortendahl. “One of the top attributes our students enjoy in their career search is interpersonal connections with company representatives and alumni. We are meeting that high value with this great opportunity.” And, he says, these corporate day events help students get real-time interviews, but also help them decide if the company is a good fit for their goals.

“In terms of brands, this is one our students would be very interested in.” – David Ortendahl, director of corporate relations, WPI’s Career Development Center

The packed day begins with an overview of WPI and SpaceX at 9 a.m., followed by tours of labs, lunch, and information sessions. All WPI students may attend one of two information sessions—the first from noon to 1 p.m. in SL 406, the second from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in HL 116.

WPI’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Club will lead SpaceX representatives on a tour of the SAE shop, says club president Zach Sears ’16. Following the tour, they will present their Formula SAE Team project goals in preparation for the 2016 Formula SAE International Competition.

“We will discuss the current status of our project, along with innovations and new technologies that we have integrated into our vehicle design for improved performance and validation,” says Sears. “Each project is not without its set of challenges, so we will discuss these along with how we have approached and solved them.”

The opportunity to discuss the project in detail is appealing. “What makes this visit exciting for myself and our club is the opportunity to showcase our countless hours of hard work in design, manufacturing, and validation of mechanical, electrical, and aerodynamic systems with SpaceX,” says Sears. “We are grateful for the opportunity for such a prestigious company to visit us so we can show off what WPI students can accomplish.”

Students considering an internship or a full-time job at SpaceX will have the chance to demonstrate their skills at Innovation Drop-Ins from 2 to 5 p.m. Held in the Career Development Center, students who have developed an innovative solution to an engineering problem or who have come up with some kind of hack to make life easier, can show SpaceX engineers what they’ve done in an interview setting. These sessions require preregistration, acceptance, and then an invitation to interview. All students must have materials in by Wednesday, Nov. 11. If they are approved, the resulting session will include a 5-minute overview of the student-presented problem and the solution. A 10-minute question-and-answer session with SpaceX engineers follows. Even if the students are not offered a position, they will have valuable feedback to take away and will have gained job interview experience, says Ortendahl. Out-of-classroom projects and upper-level engineering projects are preferred. Students are asked to bring three copies of their resume.

And while the day is great for students to learn more about SpaceX, Ortendahl says this kind of corporate day also works the other way. “It’s an opportunity for us to educate them on what an excellent institution we are,” he says. “SpaceX is willing to spend the time, energy, and resources on our campus and connect with our students. We appreciate that.”

Reminder to students: The application deadline for the innovation drop-ins is Nov. 11. You can register for the Innovation Drop Ins with SpaceX through WPI’s Job Finder system. For more information about the day or if you need a resume review before submitting it to SpaceX, call the Career Development Center at 508-831-5260.

– BY JULIA QUINN-SZCESUIL