SpaceX dream comes true for Honors graduate

May 11, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

While in Grand Canyon University’s Mechanical Engineering program, Quyen Phan developed a passion for aerospace engineering.

With that passion came a dream, one that many in the field strive for – landing a job at SpaceX.

Quyen Phan graduated from the Mechanical Engineering program this spring.

“SpaceX has always been a dream company for me, and it’s a dream for many other students as well,” said Phan, who graduated in April — the first in his immediate family to graduate with a high school or college degree. “That was my top priority. It was the first company I applied to during my job search.”

Now his dream has become a reality as the College of Science, Engineering and Technology and Honors College alum settles into his new home in Hawthorne, California, and begins his new position as an associate engineer for the aerospace manufacturing and space transportation services company founded by Elon Musk.

The Students Inspiring Students scholarship recipient‘s journey to get to this point is impressive. Having moved to the United States from Vietnam when he was just 6 years old, Phan would spend his childhood adapting and learning English while also helping handle household responsibilities. He was 8 years old when he learned his ABCs in English and didn’t feel comfortable holding conversations in English until his freshman year in high school.

Academically, he would continue to challenge himself. During his time at GCU, Phan successfully balanced his coursework with years of internships culminating in a hefty three-page resumé.

“I had five or six different internship jobs that was listed on that resumé, and each internship was packed down to the finest detail possible about what I did at that internship,” he said. “I submitted that to SpaceX and they called back.”

In addition to a detailed resumé, Phan also spent time perfecting his LinkedIn profile to reflect on his experience in the field as well as the knowledge he was gaining through his coursework.

It’s an opportunity he says was made possible through the knowledge and guidance he received as an Honors student.

“The Honors College definitely helped me get internships, and those internships helped me to get into SpaceX,” he said. “The extra curriculum that comes with being in the Honors College also really helped me in terms of my work ethic. I’m not afraid to go above and beyond.”

While he’ll be working as an associate engineer, Phan will be placed in role similar to a post-graduate internship. He will delve into projects in the company’s satellite program, aimed at one day providing internet access to the entire globe.

At the end of internship, he will be considered for a role as a full-time employee. 

Working for his dream company is especially meaningful for Phan, not just because of the impact he can help make on the world, but also because of what it means personally. As not only the first in his immediate family to graduate from high school and college, this job is an opportunity to continue to be a role model for his younger siblings.

“What does this opportunity mean to me? It means a lot … I can prove to the rest of my siblings that if I can do it, then they can do it, too,” he said.  

Phan hopes he can continue to move up in the company while also showcasing the growing talent that continues to flourish at GCU.

“I want to do good so I can prove that a GCU student can provide this much impact on the company,” Phan said. “I’m hoping that other future GCU students can come on board with me as well.”

Phan is paving the way for dream-chasers everywhere, one accomplishment at a time.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].


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