Randii's Open Road

RANDII WESSEN

Astronautics Systems Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

“You only have two choices: Coast and do nothing, in which case, you've really just wasted your life force. Or you try things. And maybe some things will fail. Maybe some things will succeed. But if you don't try, you'll never find those things that work out.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Failure Exploration Fulfillment Experience Character Culture Passion Hard Work Perseverance

TAGS:

advice, caliber, dark energy, dark matter, galaxies, hardship, jack of all trades, meaning, measure, perspective, rejection, robotics, Saturn, school, siblings, skills, space, tough times, universe, voyager

BIOGRAPHY:

On a typical day at the office, Randii Wessen gets to make rockets and ponder what aliens might look like—and it all started because he raised his hand in class one day. On that fateful day in college, one of Randii’s cosmology professors asked the class if anyone was interested in a non-paid, non-college-credit assistant position. Randii was the only person to lift his arm, and the rest is history. Now he’s Deputy Manager of the Project Formulation Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he helps design, build and test planetary spacecrafts. Of course, he didn’t go straight from the classroom to the big wig NASA badge. He has plenty of rejection letters from grad schools, aerospace companies, and even JPL--the lab where he currently works. But Randii wasn’t afraid of a little failure. As Winston Churchill once said, "Those who dare, risk defeat. Those who don't, ensure it." With that mantra in mind, Randii picked himself up each time he fell, and persevered in his quest to manifest his dream. As a result, he gets to make stuff you’d see in Star Trek come to life—which is a pretty sweet payoff, if you ask us.

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