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20 in Their 20s: David Adipietro

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An Engineering Physics Majors Launches His Career at SpaceX

Growing up in Westport, Connecticut, David Adipietro loved working on cars and wanted to pursue a career in automotive engineering, but he wasn’t sure how to get started.

One day, while scrolling through a Facebook group for car enthusiasts, he had an idea. “I sent a message saying, ‘I’m an engineering major, and I’m looking to do some design work. Does anyone have any parts they would like to be designed?’” he recalls. Soon, “there were 30 people [direct messaging]me with dimensions and different projects that they needed to be completed.”

The experience he gained helped him land internships with Standard Motor Products and Psionic, an aerospace and defense company, where he “fell in love with startups” and got “really, really interested in rockets,” he says. That inspired him to create the Fordham Rocket Propulsion Lab, a club that allows students to learn more about rockets and aerospace. And with a few friends, he launched Ensemble Propulsion Systems, a passion project to “design, build, and test hybrid and liquid rocket motors.”

In his senior year, Adipietro began applying for jobs, including one at SpaceX, a spacecraft engineering company. The hiring process was intense, he says.

“Every single person from the team interviews you for 30 minutes and by the end of that, it was like the whole room is filled up with equations, but it’s all equations that I learned here at Fordham.”

He got the job as an integration and test engineer and started at SpaceX soon after graduating from Fordham College at Rose Hill in May. He believes his passion for engineering helped him stand out from other applicants.

“Say there’s one person who wants to get a job for the money, then there is one person who is thinking about the industry from the second they open their eyes in the morning. The latter will have a higher chance of getting the job,” he says, adding: “Pursue your passion.”

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