NOVA Community Stories

Bjorn Cole '95

One of the first graduates in NOVA’s history, Bjorn's early interest in science led to a career in rocket science, including a seven-year stint with NASA. He is currently a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin.

You are literally a rocket scientist.
I am! PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.

What led you to this career?
A big part of it was 8th grade project at NOVA. My father and I built a robot together. We made our own circuit boards, we programmed chips, we ran things on Basic to control the actuators. I learned a lot! And I’ve long had an interest in space. I went to Space Camp as a kid, did basic studies in high school, went to University of Washington, which is where I got my first real taste for the parts of science I liked.

How did you end up at NASA?
I had done a short internship at NASA Langley, and that was just enough of a crack to get my foot into. I was lucky enough to get hired right out of school. It was an incredibly fun place to be, the perfect mix of academics and actual industry. You had to be 110% all the time. It was literally using all your creative and intellectual talents with a bunch of people that were doing the same.

Any special memories of NOVA?
NOVA holds a very special place in my heart and memory. The timing of being able to go to a place like NOVA was very good, being nurtured and encouraged to pursue all these different kinds of interests, not just math and science. Being able to stretch and explore, right at that time when you're really starting to want to know what's out there in the world.

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