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Fred has been a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the past 25 years. And if you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘cmon, it’s not rocket science,’ for Fred Serricchio, it really is!  Fred’s work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has led him to work directly with the Mars Exploration Rovers as an Attitude Control System Engineer and in the Mars Science Laboratory. According to his people page on NASA’s website, Fred’s work has been focused on cruise operations, entry, descent and landing (EDL), testing and operation, and surface operations. He got his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his masters in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Fred also ultra runs, a type of running that trains for distances beyond the standard marathon length, and is a self defense instructor. Press play on this ‘far out’ Espresso Shots episode if you want to learn what it takes to break into this intense industry!


  • What a co-op is and why college students might consider enrolling in one 
  • Why enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity are required attitudes if you want to work at NASA’s JPL
  • How Fred curated patience as a young man in his field
  • Why your major does matter in Fred’s field and which ones you’ll need to pursue
  • Why not to focus on the same subject in your undergraduate and grad school degrees
  • Why you can’t take too many math classes
  • How Ben Affleck’s movie The Martian is a good window into space exploration

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