Our very own Rocketman!
Marco Tyler-Rodrigue recently secured a highly-coveted summer internship at Rocket Lab. The internship was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition, which he hopes will be a stepping stone to propel his passion for aerospace even further!
Marco is currently studying at the University of Canterbury, in his final year of a Mechatronics Engineering degree. We caught up with him recently to find out all about it.
When you left school, was this the path you expected to be on?
It’s one of those funny things in life as when you’re a kid, everyone’s answer to what they want to be when they grow up is an astronaut! As I grew up, that dream stayed with me and expanded into more avenues of the aerospace field such as rocketry and robotics.
Tell us about how you came to secure an internship at Rocket Lab.
Ever since high school I’d heard of Rocket Lab and researched how I could get a job there. In my final years at Kristin, my mum even suggested I email them to show my interest early on so that when I was eligible to apply for an internship, they would understand my passion.
Since that time, I kept up my interest and looked out for when they would release internship positions to University students. I applied and after an extensive internship test and interview process, I was lucky enough to be offered a summer internship between November 2018 and February 2019.
So, what was it like working at Rocket Lab?
It was an absolutely incredible opportunity working at Rocket Lab and an experience that has definitely shaped my plans for the future! I was a Propulsion Operations Intern, based at the Rocket Lab Test Facility where all rocket engines are tested prior to flight. At the Test Facility, I had a wide variety of tasks from software development to facility development and upgrades. I was given the opportunity to work hands-on near rocket engines and to be fortunate enough to see engine test fires, which became almost normal to watch!
How do you feel your time at Kristin has shaped your path beyond school?
The International Baccalaureate degree, my teachers and my time in the Kristin robotics team all set me up for both University and my career pathway. IB was an exceptional system to prepare me for how an engineering degree expects you to learn and how it tests you; so I felt ready for my courses as soon as I began. My teachers not only taught the lesson content but also the process of learning itself, along with life lessons through being friends as well as teachers.
I had decided I wanted to study mechatronics engineering ever since I had joined the K-Force robotics team in Year 7, which I believe has shaped my path the most beyond Kristin. I am extremely grateful to Mr Allen and Mr Churches for the mentorship they provided through taking part in their programme.
Any words of wisdom for current students who might be considering a similar pathway?
It’s absolutely possible for you to grasp that dream! Although I’d been wanting to work at Rocket Lab for years now, I didn’t think I’d manage it, let alone so early on while I was still studying at University. I’ve come to realise that, although cliché, if you keep striving for a goal and push when you must, there’s a good chance you’ll reach it.