Some Florida Tech Degrees Come With Jet Dragster Experience

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At Larsen Motorsports, You’ll Be Part of the Team

Since the partnership between Florida Tech and Larsen Motorsports internships began in 2015, over 30 students have interned at LMS. No job is too big or too technical for a student to grow into. No opportunity to learn is lost. Students hold critical positions on the team whether designing electrical systems or a writing business plan. Depending on your major, you could be a propulsion engineer, a human factors specialist, a photographer or a PR specialist. Everyone is part of the team.

Larsen Motorsports internships are real-life

Larsen Motorsports internships

In essence, mechanical engineering isn’t the only field that can lead to a career in the motorsports industry, particularly if you get your start at Larsen Motorsports. Have you ever considered the aerospace engineering, physics and aviation science skills that go into designing an aerodynamic auto body? What about all the marketing it takes to build and engage a fan base, or the business, accounting and management know-how needed to enhance a race team’s revenue? Experience in psychology could help you choose the right driver or gather a great crew. A degree in math or computer science might just make you the perfect race analyst. Plus, think of all the creative work—audio, video, web and social media—that goes into every race. That’s where the communication and humanities majors come in.

The 30+ interns who have been through the Larsen Motorsports internship program have been immersed in a hands-on experience. They have designed vehicle components and electrical systems, overhauled jet engines, managed safety operation, shot photos and video, executed social media campaigns and created lesson plans for school visits.

Larsen Motorsports internships add skills

Larsen Motorsports internships

Imagine the skills you get when have the unique experience to work alongside Elaine and Chris Larsen getting career experience in everything from business to engineering in their world-class research, design and fabrication center.

This real-life experience has allowed students who interned with Larsen to go on to amazing jobs working for companies like Embraer, Rockwell Collins, Piper and Jeppesen (Boeing). Some made the decision to get a graduate degree. Some stayed at Florida Tech; others went to colleges like Columbia University.

Larsen Motorsports internships led to a doctorate program for one student and a fantastic job for another

Larsen Motorsports internships - Paige SanchezPaige Sanchez – M.S. Mechanical Engineering ’17
Ph.D. Aviation Sciences, ’20

“When I was interning at Larsen, I had the opportunity to work on graduate research that involved improving the crashworthiness of the LMS jet dragsters. Working on this project allowed me to incorporate multiple disciplines—from accident reconstruction, to 3D simulations and stress analysis, to the study of the human body and its injury thresholds, and to the fabricating and building of a jet dragster. What truly made this project special was that I got to see it through from concept, to design, to build, and finally, to the testing phase.

Pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering while working at LMS inspired me to continue my education and enroll in the doctorate program in Aviation Sciences, with a focus on Aviation Human Factors. After being exposed to the human-centered element of designing jet dragsters, I realized that I was passionate about understanding the interaction between humans and the machines that they interact with, and how to optimize overall system performance and human well-being. The skills that I gained as an engineer working on a jet dragster have helped me to view my human factors coursework through an engineering lens, allowing me to take my design and technical knowledge a step further by incorporating it with the human psychology information that I am learning in my human factors classes. The combination of these two skillsets can be used to create safer and more efficient designs for any product that comes into contact with a human. When I graduate, I hope to become employed in industry.

I do not have a particular direction that I am headed, but I know that with the three degrees I will have, the possibilities are endless. I could end up in motorsports, in the aviation/aerospace industry, in military contract work, in the medical field, working on ride designs at Universal or Disney, or in the passenger vehicle industry. Wherever my career takes me, I know that participating in the LMS internship program and having experience in multiple degree programs at Florida Tech have both contributed to my passion in the engineering and human factors industries and have equipped me to succeed in the workplace.”

Matthew Walsh – Mechanical Engineering, ’17
Quality Analyst, Embraer

Larsen Motorsports internships - Matthew Walsh

“In my Florida Tech internship, I got to work on modeling a jet engine to use in an interactive mobile app. The idea was to make it so that you can pull it apart and put it back together and actually see all of the internals. I had never done something on this level but we covered the basics in class. Then I got to learn how to do it in the field.

After graduation, I went to work as a Quality Analyst at Embraer. They are a Brazilian aerospace company that produces commercial, military, executive and agricultural aircraft. My job is to review and modify work instructions for our initial engine test runs. The experience I got working hands-on with jet engines at Larsen Motorsports provided me with a in depth understand of how these engines operate, giving me the knowledge I needed to significantly reduce my learning curve so that I was a valuable employee on day one.”

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