Rocket dreams come true for Florida Polytechnic University junior

May 14, 2019
Rocket dreams come true for Florida Polytechnic University junior
Florida Polytechnic University student Geoffrey Doback, a mechanical engineering major, will be interning this summer at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The junior from Tampa, Florida, will be working on the propulsion systems of the new SLS (Space Launch System) Rocket.

Geoffrey Doback has no doubts of where he wants his career ambitions to take him. The Florida Polytechnic University student has been captivated by aviation and the so-called next frontier ever since he was a young boy.

“My first experience with aviation was at an air show when I was 7 years old. I was obsessed after that,” said Doback. “Then I got into rockets because it’s the next level, and the engine is always what intrigued me the most.”

Now a junior, Doback was determined to find a summer internship that would enable him to put one foot at the door of the aerospace industry. With his eyes on the prize, Doback says he sent 120 applications, spent more than 100 hours working on his resume, and messaged recruiters more than 200 times. In the end, the intense five-month effort paid off.

“I’m going to work at the NASA facility where they build rocket engines. It’s my dream place,” said Doback, who is majoring in mechanical engineering. “I’m still in disbelief.”

Doback will be interning at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as a thermal analyst working with the SLS (Space Launch System) Rocket. He’ll be helping with the verification of the propulsion systems, and will also be doing structural and dynamic analysis on the rocket’s liquid hydrogen fuel tank, which is 180 feet tall.

“This is the new rocket that in 2024 will be taking humans to the moon and after that, it’s going to Mars,” he explained. “I’m so excited to be a part of that goal.”

Doback has had an outstanding journey at Florida Poly thus far. He has won the prestigious HAYS Travel Award for two consecutive years for his cutting-edge research on diatoms. He has also excelled as a teaching assistant for almost two years. The Tampa, Florida, native said that his experience at the University and the support he receives from his professors were essential to getting this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

“I talk to my professors daily. I like that I can come up the stairs and knock on their door,” he said. “It has helped me tremendously.”

The three-month, fully paid internship begins in early June. Since receiving the good news, Doback has been reading and studying everything about rocket engines he can get his hands on. He’s also been practicing with the software he’ll be using at NASA, some of which are available at Florida Poly.

“I want to be prepared when I get there, so I’m not like a fish out of water,” said Doback. “I want to make an impression, not be just another intern. I want to stand out and hopefully make a good name for Florida Poly.”

Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications