Kriston Ramdass: ‘I Engineer Spaceflight’

October 6, 2022

“I Engineer” highlights excellence across the Penn State College of Engineering, as well as how the college is made stronger by the diversity of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of those in the engineering community.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —Kriston Ramdass, who earned a master’s degree from Penn State in aerospace engineering, works for SpaceX as a test equipment engineer, where he is working to create the next generation of reusable rockets to transport humans from Earth to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Last year, Ramdass was recognized with Aviation Week Network’s 2021 20 Twenties Award.

Why did you become an engineer? What does engineering mean to you? 

Engineering is the root of innovation, and innovation is the root of a bright future. I became an engineer so that I could play a direct role in contributing to a better and brighter future for all of humanity. Engineering is priceless in that it brings about solutions to many problems that we face today and will face in the future. With engineering, anything that you can think of has the potential for life-changing results in the modern world. 

What are you aiming to achieve? Why is it important? 

I hope to stay curious and use my curiosity to ask hard questions when faced with an issue. Ultimately, I hope to assist others with my engineering, both immediately and in the future. The immediate need for humanity to be multi-planetary is not present; however, we cannot wait to start building the infrastructure only when it is needed. We must start now, and I am proud to be part of the team working to make it happen.  

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering? 

To make the most of your college and post-college careers in engineering, I urge everyone to have a growth mindset and take opportunities that come your way. Whether it is participating in and conducting research, getting involved in out-of-class organizations or working on personal projects, each is a growing opportunity. Be curious and learn something new each day, and make each passing day better than the last.

How have your perspectives, experiences and background shaped you and your career as an engineer?  

Diversity holds intrinsic value in all situations –– this is especially true in engineering. Diversity of thought, background, gender and race all contribute to the ideas put forward in the process of solving a problem. It has been proven that a diverse team is usually the most productive and effective, and this has been true in my personal engineering experience as well. My experience getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering at Penn State is not the same as someone that did so at another university, so there is always a chance to contribute novel thoughts. In addition, as a minority in STEM, I have a background that differs from others in more ways than one, and that has shaped me to now seek opportunities where I can add my own perspectives and provide alternate opinions or ideas toward solving a common problem.


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College of Engineering Media Relations

"Diversity holds intrinsic value in all situations—this is especially true in engineering."

— Alumnus Kriston Ramdass