Superintendent Michael S. Nelson and Principal Michael Devoll are pleased to share that Old Rochester Regional High School alumnus Kris Gundersen recently spoke to high school students about his work at NASA.
Gundersen, who graduated with the Class of 2000, is the Lead Separation System and Pyro Devices engineer responsible for NASA’s Space Launch System Separation, Ignition, Pyrotechnics and Range Flight Termination systems. He is currently stationed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
On December 20, Gundersen virtually presented to 22 ORR students and four staff members. Students from all grades and with varying interests were able to join. Gundersen’s presentation focused on the Space Launch System and his journey from ORR to NASA.
Gundersen encourages students to “learn something new every day and [know that] there’s no limit to what you can do.” He shares that he subscribes to that philosophy: “I’m always learning, always reading, always listening. Every day is a new opportunity to change for the better.”
He shared videos of his work and told students many stories from his 18 years of experience. Gundersen also participated in a Q&A session with the students.
“As I think about our future engineers, aviators, physicists and scientists, I’m grateful that these students had this incredible opportunity to hear from an ORR alumnus like Kris who helped to inspire them and show them the value in dreaming big,” Director of Guidance Lauren Millette said.
Following the Artemis 1 launch in November 2022, Gundersen transitioned to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program as the Launch Vehicle Pyrotechnics Subject Matter Expert. Launch vehicles are SpaceX’s Falcon 9, and United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket. He is currently supporting ULA’s coming CST-100 Crewed Flight Test and SpaceX’s Crew 6 Launch.
“We are fortunate to have ORR alumni like Kris who want to give back to our future generations by not only sharing their experiences and advice, but by encouraging them to follow their passions,” Principal Devoll said.
“We are so appreciative that Kris took the time out of his day to talk with our students and share all that he has achieved and learned through his 18 years of experience,” Superintendent Nelson said, “It’s always great to see how our ORR alumni have succeeded in the many different and unique paths our graduates choose to follow.”