When you think of NASA, what do you think of? Most think of the astronauts, space shuttles, and well…space. But that isn’t what NASA is all about, it’s also about the roles that help the astronauts get in those space shuttles and get safely to space. Roles like systems engineers help make that happen (amongst other vital tasks) and people like Joshua Jones, our alumni spotlight this month, who shares how TCA has contributed to his success.
Mrs. Wescott (retired), our long time Upper Division math teacher, is the one who helped Jones to fall in love with math. “She was my teacher for Trigonometry, a very important topic for engineering,” said Jones. “[Her class] wasn’t easy. I had many late nights working through her homework problems, but it taught me perseverance and not to give up.” Jones remembers how Mrs. Wescott was a stickler for details – a trait that is very important in his line of work. “You must follow instructions very carefully when working with liquid oxygen and high-pressure gasses,” stresses Jones. “People can get hurt or hardware can get damaged if the wrong valve is opened, so attention to detail is another skill that was reinforced in me [by Mrs. Wescott].”
All of the learning he did at TCA served him well as he continued on to Florida State College at Jacksonville to get his Associates Degree, the University of North Florida for his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, and is currently working on his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. In his role at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Jones leads the maintenance procedures of the Liquid Oxygen (LOX) system in support for Artemis I (NASA’s next generation space program) by carrying forward the lessons learned from the Apollo and Shuttle eras while adopting new policies for the present day. He also supports cryogenic operations both in the field and remotely from the Launch Control Center (LCC) and is a certified console engineer for day of launch operations.
When not working at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Jones enjoys speaking in Mrs. Goodman's classes each year; tutoring students in science, engineering, and math to hone his skills; or developing new products that can have a simple, but profound impact on people’s lives. To date, he is most proud of connections he’s made inside and outside of work in the form of friends throughout his five-year career.
Looking back, Jones reflects fondly on TCA and his involvement before graduating in 2009 – a foundation he is immensely grateful for. “Band with my classmates and Mr. Cordell was always fun,” said Jones. “I also enjoyed learning chemistry and physics with Mr. Aenis.” Jones credits TCA with helping ignite his passions for science, technology, and mathematics but his curiosity to know more about the world around him is what drives him as he continues thriving in his field.
To learn more about TCA and how it empowered other alum like Jones to discover and live out their God-given purpose, visit https://tcajax.org/.