Florida Polytechnic University graduate to help advance new space frontier with NASA internship

Jan 29, 2019
Florida Polytechnic University graduate to help advance new space frontier with NASA internship
Florida Polytechnic University graduate James Mavo ‘18, from West Palm Beach, Florida, is participating in a 16-week internship at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The mechanical engineer will be creating designs that would allow human missions to extend beyond Earth orbit and last longer.

Shooting for the stars has never intimidated James Mavo. The mechanical engineer graduated from Florida Polytechnic University in the fall of 2018, and when looking for a job, the sky had no limits. Literally.

“I thought, why not try NASA? I always wanted to work with great minds,” said Mavo, who is from West Palm Beach, Florida. “Working with pioneers in space exploration is very exciting. I want to be part of that new frontier.”

After a rigorous application process and more than a month of waiting, Mavo finally received the phone call. NASA was his next frontier.

“I was surprised, but not shocked. I was confident I had a chance,” he said.

Mavo begins the 16-week, fully paid internship at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center this week in Huntsville, Alabama. His main goal will be to create conceptual designs that would allow human missions go beyond the low Earth orbit.

“This opportunity is very exciting. We have not been past the low Earth orbit since 1972,” said Mavo, referring to the last year of the Apollo program that took 24 astronautsin lunar flights.

“These designs would allow people to basically live up there in space, beyond the ISS (International Space Station), since NASA has goals to take humans back to the moon and go to Mars,” he added.

Mavo was part of Florida Poly’s inaugural class and had a stellar journey during his time at the University. He completed two internships; one with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the second one with fencing company Barrette in Plant City, Florida.

His dedication to research, working closely with Dr. Seyed Soltani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, culminated with a paper published last year by the SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) Conference in Long Beach, California. Mavo also worked as a teacher assistant for several classes and took an active role in Florida Poly’s Rotaract Club.

He said that all of these experiences, plus Florida Poly’s unique STEM curriculum, have prepared him for the professional challenges the future may bring.

“I’m convinced that with my degree, I’m ready to face anything that comes my way. I think the University gave me the tools necessary to accomplish this NASA internship and the other ones as well,” Mavo said.

“Florida Poly equips you very well for any job.”

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications