It Really IS Rocket Science

Rebecca Patterson '18

Robert McMullen ‘13 (‘Ert’ to his friends)  is currently working at Blue Origin, a human spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos (who also founded  Blue Origin describes itself as “...inspired by the potential of space and the incredible human feats that technology enables.”  No wonder it is attractive to Olin students and alumni - in fact three grads from the Class of ’15 (Chris Joyce, Kate Maschan, and Maddie Perry) and two interns (Morgan Bassford-’15 and Michael Searing-‘16) will also be heading to Kent, Washington to join Ert there!

Robert works on the seats and hatch of the crew capsule, as well as various fluid-related parts for the booster.  A typical day for him is filled with lots of testing, as well as some design and analysis,  and of course a few meetings.  He notes that, “Probably 60% of my time is spent testing.  This is the kind of stuff that I used to do for fun.”  


The New Shepard space vehicle blasts off on its first developmental test flight over Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. The crew capsule reached apogee at 307,000 feet before beginning its descent back to Earth.

Now that more Olin alumni are joining him at Blue Origin, Robert finds working with them in the real world relaxing, since he already knows how they think.

He says that all of the hands-on work at Olin is what prepared him the most,particularly the time he spent on the Mini-Baja team.  Similar to Olin, at Blue, Ert performs tests on subsystems and (sometimes rapidly) iterates designs as necessary.

What words of wisdom does Robert have for current students?  “Take advantage of the shops and build things.  Join a design team.  And make sure you don't waste your time on things you aren't passionate about.  Think outside the box when you start to look for a job/internship.  Think about what you do for fun and figure out how to get paid for it.”

Posted in: Alumni Speak, Just Plain Fun, Awesome Employers