When the University of West Georgia last sat down to chat with alumnus Roger Lascorz in 2017, the physics grad said one of his career goals was to work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It was a giant leap that would be the result of several steps for the Catalonia, Spain, native who moved to Carrollton, Georgia, as a 16-year-old international student at UWG’s Advanced Academy.
Five years after our initial interview, we found Lascorz right where he predicted he’d be – NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
“Working for NASA was why I came to the United States in the first place, coupled with the unique opportunity of starting college early,” Lascorz said. “The week I got my U.S. citizenship, I started applying to open positions.”
Multiple applications later, he got the call. Although he had just moved to Philadelphia for a different job, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. He repacked and moved to Titusville, Florida, to work as an engineer in NASA’s voice services department.
“I’m responsible for finding ways to ensure correct communications between different entities within KSC, including those in tricky environments, while keeping the costs as low as possible,” Lascorz explained. “It keeps the people of this large team able to communicate with each other on a large scale, which is crucial for a large organization like NASA.”
One of the most recent projects his team has worked on is an inter-center contract worth $1 billion, which earned Lascorz a KSC Certificate of Commendation. The team is also integrated with various similar groups in the agency, which Lascorz sees as an opportunity to challenge himself and advance to more leadership roles.
Lascorz’s time at UWG and his close connection with faculty members helped prepare him for his current work in the aerospace field.
“I worked closely with Dr. Javier Hasbun from the physics program,” said Lascorz, who graduated from UWG in 2014. “He spent countless hours teaching me how to be a better physicist and encouraging me to work harder. He also had the habit of putting students as first authors in papers, which showed me the importance of using your influence to help others. To this day, the paper we wrote on the Optimization of Electrolysis is one of my proudest achievements.”
Extracurricular activities at UWG not only enhanced his time in college but proved to be beneficial in his career.
“UWG’s vibrant international student organization prepared me to understand and relate to people of different cultures, which played a role in his creation of New Americans, an employee resource group that advocates for the fair treatment of immigrants within NASA and the appreciation of different cultures,” he shared. “I recently received KSC’s Gold Dollar Award for my work with New Americans, and because of my involvement I’m able to meet and provide input to high-ranking people at the organization.”
What does the future hold for Lascorz?
“I hope to be involved with a permanent base on the moon,” he mused. “Going to space would be awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut last time NASA did an astronaut selection, but I’ll keep trying. The bar is set really high right now, but hopefully as the demand for astronauts increases, more humans will get the chance.”
If the last five years are any indication that Lascorz can accomplish anything he sets his mind to, we’ll talk to him again in 2027.