Bobak Ferdowsi
System Engineer NASA JPL
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”My favorite technical aspect is honestly the fact that I always get to learn new things.” Bobak Ferdowsi, NASA's "Mohawk Guy", works as a System Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. What he likes on his job is that his ”workplace is also a community.” He enjoys the technical stuff but “what makes everyday exciting to be there is the fact that these people are such a pleasure to work with.”


Drei Ratschläge an Dein 14jähriges Ich!

Just thinking back to what I was like at 14 I think, one is be confident in who you are. Know that things will always change and be willing to embrace them and I think the last one I would say is be willing to challenge yourself. Be willing to put yourself in situations that you wouldn't normally be comfortable in. Not all of them will work out but most of them will actually probably end up being better than that. Yeah

Was steht auf Deiner Visitenkarte?

My name is Bobak Ferdowsi. I am a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory capacity in California.

Was ist das coolste an Deinem Job?

The thing I enjoy most honestly is my coworkers. They're bright, they're hardworking. Everybody puts on a lot of effort and no one feels like okay you know we're all putting in a lot of work together. But they all have a sense of humor. Many of them have become my closest friends over the years, been in their wedding. It's the people. The technical stuff is fun, it's challenging but what makes everyday exciting to be there is the fact that these people are such a pleasure to work with. I'm part of a bread club. We bake bread for each other. It's a fun place we have teams for soft ball. We have all sorts of sporting events. There's a hiking club. It's not just a working place it's also a community. My favorite technical aspects is honestly the fact I will always get to learn new things at every job that I do will involving taking some of the stuff I've learned before and experiences that I had but also new approaches, new people who have done things in the past. You're going to be a student of history but also you got to create the future. It's a really fun kind of mesh of all those different things. So I guess yeah, for me it's just the constant learning, I will never be bored of my job.

Welche Einschränkungen bringt Dein Job mit sich?

I think the biggest limitation is that for missions like us, it often takes a long time for things to happen. So you know the mission that I'm working on will be easily ten years in the making by the time we're at Jupiter. Missions like Curiosity were the same way. So that can be a little frustrating but in the end, like with curiosity, the reward is so great. I would say it's worth it but sometimes it's hard to be patient.

Worum geht es in Deinem Job?

My job right now is mission planner for the Europa Eclipse Study. We're a mission to send a space craft to Jupiter, I mean Europa, to spend a couple of years there to measure it. My job is really to understand how the space craft and the operations interact with each other. So it is trying to get the human and the space craft in one place. My day to day right now, because we're early in design, it's a lot of meetings; it's a lot of looking at simulations of things. Try to make models to help us understand how much data we're going to get, when do we expect to see that data on ground, how will people use the data to then build activities for the space craft. And it’s really just, at this point is just all kind of fresh and exciting. It's just having conversations so that we're all connected. That we're all kind of think about the space craft and the people in the same way. My job involves some travel. It changes overtime as the mission gets bigger and bigger we would definitely have to travel. We'll meet with teams that have instruments wherever they are. Sometimes they'll come to us and then we'll have times when we have to go where we launch the space craft from. So it just changes. Some years it's a lot of travel, some years not so much.

Wie sieht Dein Werdegang aus?

I grew up in the Northern California are near San Francisco. Moved to Tokyo from middle school and high school. Back to Seattle for college in the University of Washington, Masters at MIT and then my first job was actually working at the Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA. I am working on the Mars Curiosity mission at the very early stages and it's just been a kind of, that was an apprenticeship I guess for me. I just wanted to learn a lot and as time went on the gave me more and more responsibility. I got to be a flight director and now I get to work on a new project. Hopefully it will be another new learning process for me

Ginge es auch ohne Deinem Werdegang?

I think the great thing about this job is that if you kind of have the mind set of an engineer you could probably do this job. If you can think about a question and how you would approach finding the answer, honestly that's the biggest thing that all of us I think in my profession bring. Most people have an education, a technical education, some people don't. In fact some of the best people don't and in fact even at this conference there are people who are 19 and doing stuff and don't have a formal education are doing incredible engineering. I think that what I personally bring to the table is really just willingness to engage people at a conversational level to always be open and I see my job mostly as how do I enable people to do things, so you know if someone has a challenge. I don't want to be the guy that says, "Oh, it's going to be tough let's not do it." I want to say how do I make that happen and luckily a lot of my coworkers are like that were very positive. Let's do the thing that we can do before.