For nearly 25 years, PLTW has offered transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students. Now, many of those students are professionals in STEM fields. We recently reached out to several PLTW alumni to learn more about their educational and career journeys and find out what advice they have for current PLTW students. If you are a PLTW alumnus interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you here.
Eduardo “Eddie” Seyffert lives in Austin, Texas and is an Engineer in Strategy, Marketing, and Sales, Launch Webcast Host, and Director of Texas Government Affairs at Blue Origin. In high school, Eddie completed Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Engineering Design and Development in the PLTW Engineering program.
In what grades did you participate in PLTW? What were some of your most memorable experiences from PLTW?
I participated in PLTW courses from 9th-12th grade at Chapin High School, in El Paso, Texas.
The project- and team-based learning curriculum was incredibly fun – from the ping pong ball launcher to the automated marble sorter to the classroom sized Rube-Goldberg machine! PLTW was an amazing opportunity to work through real-life engineering experiences, with a project manager, schedule, budget, and a technical challenge, while simultaneously learning and putting into practice critical technical engineering skills like breadboarding circuits, programming, or CAD. I truly believe these projects really taught and helped us practice the fundamentals of real-life engineering.
What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
My experience with PLTW helped me gain admittance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and helped me decide that studying engineering would be the first step for my career. Once at MIT, I decided on aeroastro engineering, that had a reputation for being one of the more difficult programs of study at MIT and had incredible internship opportunities at great companies like Boeing Commercial Airplanes and GE Aviation. I was able to study abroad at the aerospace-focused university in Toulouse, France, and even work for a summer at BMW in Munich, Germany.
Upon graduation, I moved back to west Texas to work at a then very small aerospace company called Blue Origin as an operations engineer for the BE-3 and BE-4 engine test stands. Eventually, I grew to become the test stand manager of the BE-4 rocket engine test stand and I also led the New Shepard Booster Recovery Team as Pad Leader for Missions M2-M8.
What is your current role within your company? What are your responsibilities in this position?
I am currently an engineer on the strategy, marketing, and sales team at Blue Origin. I support technical due diligence on all customer interactions for New Shepard and Engines, whether that means translating customer preferences into engineering requirements or working with customers to teach them about the technical capabilities of Blue Origin’s products. I strive for the voice of the customer to lead to true, market-backed product innovation for what Blue Origin builds!
What did you learn in PLTW that still helps you today?
Since I started my engineering career, I have worked in a project- and team-based environment (just like PLTW!), testing and developing next-generation, reusable liquid rocket engines and propulsion systems components, and working to keep our customers happy. Blue Origin believes in a future where millions of people live and work in space for the benefit of Earth, and I am so proud to contribute to that mission every day.
Do you have any advice for current PLTW students?
Both what you do and how you do it matter. Make something, improve something, simplify or add something new to people’s lives to make them happier or to make their lives easier. But do it in a way that shows how much you care for others, in a way that pushes you to grow and learn, and ideally, surrounded by people you love, in a place that you love.
PLTW provides PreK-12 schools, teachers, and students with hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life and their future careers.
PLTW rejuvenates teachers, providing world-class experiences that keep them on the forefront of how to prepare students for the demands of tomorrow. PLTW:
- Has provided professional development opportunities to more than 80,000 teachers giving them the support and resources needed to inspire students
- Offers best-in-class teacher training: PLTW Core Training with Master Teachers
- Continuously updates teacher resources that are available on demand
- Facilitates teacher networking opportunities
- Develops curriculum by a team of writers, many of whom are former teachers
Learn more about PLTW on pltw.org