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I got a job at Rocket Lab! – My Summer of Tech

By Ella Halstead
January 9 2020

Posted in Student Resources, Student Stories

By Lara Collier

My name’s Lara, I’ve just finished my 4th year of my engineering science and psychology conjoint degree at the University of Auckland. I’m from Auckland! In 2019 I got a job at Rocket Lab through Summer of Tech. 

I heard about Summer of Tech through my fellow student friends who had previously gotten awesome jobs through the programme. I really liked the variety of awesome companies that take part in the programme, so I thought why not give it a go?

I found it really easy and intuitive, and going through the same process with hundreds of other students makes you feel like you’re not going at it alone, which is also cool! I think all the events were really well organised and allowed you to get to know loads of different companies and where you might fit in. The meet and greet is your chance to make a good impression on the employers, which leads to a speed interview, and usually finishes with a proper interview before you get the offer. This process means you get loads of interaction with your favourite employer and I found that I could really let my personality shine out!

Absolutely incredible! I’m totally loving every second of it. I’m learning so much every day from some of the smartest engineers I’ve ever met. Working in a field I’m passionate about truly makes me feel like I’m not working at all. The people at Rocket Lab made me feel super welcome and I really enjoy the culture here, alongside the work!

I’m only in my fourth week of my job at Rocket Lab and can say I’ve experienced so many once-in-a-lifetime things already! I’ve been given tours around the workshop where they manufacture the rockets, I’ve been out to our test site to see a stage two stack test (where they fire up and test the rocket engines), and I’ve witnessed a launch. Pressing my face up against the glass of Mission Control to watch Flight 10’s journey to low Earth orbit was definitely something I’ll remember! 

One thing that surprised me was the responsibility and ownership of projects that my team has given me. The software project I’m working on currently has allowed me to fully explore the acoustic random vibration environment the vehicle is subject to throughout launch and has allowed me to see how we analyse the data and report on it. I’ve been given end-to-end ownership of this project with stakeholders in different teams, along with lots of guidance from my own team – which is super cool to see for an intern project.

I’m just looking forward to learning more and more about the business. It’s been my dream to work at Rocket Lab for a while now, so for me it’s just about meeting lots of different people and learning new things every single day. I’ll also hopefully get to see a couple more launches, which would be amazing!

Definitely. They hold events to teach you the ins and outs of the whole process, and really useful tips. While it seems daunting, SoT supports you the whole way which is really helpful. You also get way more interaction with the employer than just a regular application, which is useful if you’re someone who wants to get to know their employer more than just a single interview!

I’m definitely wanting to stay in the space industry – ideally staying with Rocket Lab because it’s close to home! I’m really loving the team here and the work is always challenging and interesting, so growing my career here is something that I’m totally on board with.



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