Science and Technology

Rocket man

Humanities alumnus succeeding in the space industry


 
raphael-perrino-rocket-man

SUMMARY: Raphael Perrino ('07, '09M) is a senior business intelligence analyst at Virgin Orbit, a rocket company developing a highly flexible, responsive air launch platform. Perrino received bachelor's and master's degrees from JMU in Technical and Scientific Communication (now Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication).


By Brooke Z. Graham, guest writer

Raphael Perrino (’07, ’09M) is a perfect example of how JMU attracts and inspires students who crave Being the Change. He is a senior business intelligence analyst at Virgin Orbit, a rocket company developing a highly flexible, responsive air launch platform. Perrino received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from JMU in Technical and Scientific Communication (now Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication).

Perrino’s career path began at age 6 when he attended an event with his dad at a local planetarium in Arlington, Virginia. As a child, his family also introduced him to PBS’s iconic 13-part series Cosmos by Carl Sagan. These experiences inspired Perrino’s desire to work in the space industry. Today he lives in Long Beach, California, where Virgin Orbit’s rocket factory is located.

While tasks such as having to develop an algorithm to evaluate business opportunities have been challenging, Perrino found that his technical communication course work at JMU provided him with a strong background in technical writing, technical editing, design principles and scientific communication. Perrino believes that as an analyst, the quality of data and documentation is critically important in producing impactful, repeatable analyses. He believes that data analysis requires clearly stated findings and visualization for others to interpret and understand.

Perrino previously worked for The Tauri Group and in NASA’s Strategic Investments Division in  Washington D.C. He has also worked as a technical writer and editor for SAIC and Vovici Corp. In addition to his degrees from JMU, Perrino holds a master’s degree in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University.

When asked about advice for those thinking about graduate school, Perrino said, “When selecting a university to attend or workplace to apply to, consider not just the name recognition of the organization but the degree to which that university or workplace will enable you to achieve your goals. JMU offered an expansive range of high-quality programs from which I could choose—it’s why I went back for a master’s after completing my bachelor’s at JMU.”

Perrino suggests that students “pursue the university program that is the strongest fit. Pursue the position that encourages you to grow.” When thinking about the philosophy that seems to have guided his professors, he quoted Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Perrino encourages JMU students who are pursuing their dreams to “put in the extra time and effort that others may not. Aspire to be the most hardworking and efficient worker in your organization. Dreams without hard work remain dreams.”

He also suggests that students take care of their health. Eat well, exercise and sleep. Work hard, but also rest.

“Your mind also needs rest in order to maintain maximum potential,” he said. “Good health enables you to enjoy your accomplishments in life.”

GIVE NOW

 

Madison banner 2018

Back to Top

Published: Monday, March 9, 2020

Last Updated: Monday, August 17, 2020

Related Articles