Spaceport Site

Don Platt

Donald Platt, program director, space systems shares his thoughts when asked about his passion for teaching students, while at the same time directing the space systems master's degree program at Florida Tech’s Rockledge location. Hear what he has to say...

"On my level of excitement for teaching… I think teaching is an incredible way to have an impact on so many people and in ways that you never realized. You touch so many lives and perhaps help people to accomplish great things and stimulate them to push themselves to further their life goals. As an instructor I’m challenged as well, as each year there are different students with new and different perspectives; and new and challenging questions.
As a result of my work experience, I feel I have a combination of real-world space and engineering experience combined with an academic background. I have worked on projects from the beginning to end and have seen and dealt with all the challenges of complicated engineering systems.
In answer to the question: what do I bring to the classroom that differentiates me from other instructors? I have a diverse background in many engineering and scientific disciplines so I can usually apply a new perspective to perhaps an old problem. The space systems program is all about interface between multiple disciplines and I feel my background exemplifies that.
I feel that as a teacher you have this unique opportunity to influence many lives and many careers. This is what motivates me in the classroom. Who knows what your student of today may accomplish in the future. I’m also motivated by learning about new fields and disciplines all the time, always trying to keep a fresh perspective.
Our students consistently offer feedback on the space systems program and they tell us the program is unique and highly valuable in terms of integrating multiple disciplines. These individuals have diverse undergraduate backgrounds in engineering and/or science. They also tell us the program really fits their working lifestyles. Florida Tech understands that our students are also employees and perhaps a spouse or parent. Our programs are flexible to accommodate their busy and changing schedules."