STEM+Arts Career Profile – Dr. Jonathan Kyle PhD


Dr. Jonathan Kyle PhD
Current: Aerospace Engineer at Blue Origin’s Fluid System Group


iUT: Tell us about your role at Blue Origin and what does it entail?

JK: I am an Aerospace Engineer within Blue Origin’s Fluid Systems group. Our job is to make sure the propellant (which in our case is liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) gets to the engine at the right pressures, temperatures, and flow rates. My role involves valve design to help regulate different fluids on the rocket. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, but that’s a pretty good high level overview.

iUT: What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you’re currently doing?

JK: I earned my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. I then went on for my Master’s and finally Ph.D. (both in Mechanical as well) from Columbia University in New York City. My first job out of school was at a small aerospace company in New Jersey that designed valves for SpaceX rockets.


iUT: What advice would you give our teens about being a PhD, an engineer, getting into your industry ?

JK: Focus and tenacity. Focus will allow you to really prioritize what’s important in your life to get where you want to go. It allows you to see roughly the path you should follow to accomplish your goals. Tenacity is what will separate you from everyone else, as well as motivate you to keep going. I firmly believe you have to learn how to push yourself. Once you do it a couple of times, it will be a natural habit for you. People without tenacity will give up and you will naturally be there to take whatever opportunities come your way.


iUT: What is the most fun thing about your job?

JK: I love the energy among my coworkers when we launch our rocket. Seeing it land is even cooler. I can’t think of another job where the day to day is as tedious as ours can be, but then all of a sudden its unbelievably intense and energetic. It’s quite a roller coaster ride.

iUT: Did you have someone in your life growing up that provided you the support and inspiration to become a PhD?

JK: My parents. Neither of them have a Ph.D., but they wanted me to push myself and do the best I could do.

iUT: Can you share something about yourself that isn’t well known?

JK: I’m a huge fan of formula one racing. I think if I wasn’t an aerospace engineer, I would want to design race cars. Or better yet, be a driver!

iUT: Is there anything else you would like to add?

JK: I’ll give the advice my Dad gave me about finding a career/profession: 1) Only do something you’d be willing to pay them to do, and 2) Only do something that is socially significant. That’s it.

****Additional picture credit– I almost forgot, you may want to use the attached image as well. Buzz Aldrin (2nd man to walk on the moon), paid us a visit the other day. Attached is our group shot (he’s down in the bottom right, second from the right…Jeff Bezos is to the left of him).