Javier Gonzalez-Rocha was taught from a young age to value education as a means to overcoming poverty and achieving a better quality of life. From his early beginnings growing up in a farm worker family, Javier was fascinated with flight and space exploration. With the encouragement of his family he pursued these endeavors in college and it was during his undergraduate years at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) that the California Space Grant Consortium (CaSGC) became a part of Javier’s educational experience.
The CaSGC supported one of Javier’s early aerospace research projects through CaSGC affiliate campus director Dr. Jose Granda on a project involving the structural resiliency of the International Space Station. This project sparked his interest to gain more knowledge about aerospace engineering and to pursue an advanced degree in the field.
While in the Master’s Program at CSUS, the CaSGC once again provided support and encouragement when Javier was selected to attend the NASA Aeronautics Academy at Dryden Flight Research Center. As an intern at Dryden, Javier worked on projects aimed at obtaining more aerodynamic and birdlike flight in space with nine other student interns.
After completing his MS degree at CSUS, Javier was selected for a Ph.D program in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech starting Fall 2013 where he is furthering his studies of flight and space exploration technologies. Javier states, “I feel my perspective and skills will offer alternative approaches toward strengthening the STEM pipeline and keeping our nation at the forefront of innovation.” The California Space Grant Consortium is proud to have had a role in supporting this outstanding student in his educational and career goals.