JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – College football fans likely remember quarterback Josh Dobbs at the University of Tennessee while he was throwing rockets, he was also studying rockets, earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Dobbs aced the discipline, graduating with a 4.0 in 2017.
“I knew it was something that would be difficult and so I would challenge myself,” said Dobbs, “But I also would enjoy it and have a genuine interest in it for those challenging moments. I would say, 'Hey, this is what I want to do though so I’m going to push through.”
During this NFL offseason, Josh put his studies into practice just down the from Jacksonville. When he was offered an externship at Kennedy Space Center, he jumped at the chance.
“I show up the first day, I’m at the badging station. I’m an official NASA employee so for it to come full circle, it was a tremendous experience. I think I learned a lot technical, like hey, this is what an aerospace engineer is. This is what they do on a daily basis,” said Dobbs.
For three weeks, Dobbs did work in areas like instrumentation, lightning detections systems, cryogenics, and more.
It was like his 7-year-old self's dream come true. That's when he first visited Kennedy with his parents.
“Very hands-on. Everything was different. Every day was different. I have 30 sheets of notes,” said Dobbs, “A lot of stuff was thrown at me quickly, but I guess the biggest thing I learned was how much innovation they do.”
He will be watching Wednesday's launch of Americans into space intently, but now, with a different eye.
"I'll be excited now to watch the upcoming launch. I'm extremely excited about that," said Dobbs, "But to watch it after I have all this knowledge of 'hey, this is what really goes into it.'"
Josh hopes he can inspire other young athletes to have broad horizons.
“It also shows the next student-athlete, whether he’s in middle school or high school and he says ‘I want to be an engineer. I haven’t really seen people do that’ and then people are saying ‘oh, that’s too difficult, you can’t do that.’ It gives them hope that hey if you want to go to college and do a difficult major and also excel on the football field, you can do it.”