Season 1, Episode 1

The journey from student to SpaceX engineer: Juan Vivas

In this episode, we join Eric Cross as he talks to supply chain engineer Juan Vivas of SpaceX about his experiences growing up as a Latino in STEM. Juan shares his story of moving to the United States to study engineering and becoming successful in his career as a scientist. Juan discusses the experiences that made a difference in his life and the teachers who inspired him along the way. He also shares his experience as an engineer in different fields, as well as what it’s like to work in the supply chain during COVID.

Meet our guest(s):

Juan Vivas

Juan Vivas is a chemical engineer currently working as a Supplier Development Engineer at SpaceX. Juan got his start at the University of Florida, where he led the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE) as vice president. He’s worked for companies like Clorox, Dow Chemical, and General Mills. Juan lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and two dogs.

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


Based on my experience so far, I think the best way to put it… an engineer is a technical problem solver. - Juan Vivas