Science & Technology

UWF College of Business graduate part of NASA team that landed rover on Mars

On Aug. 6, a team from NASA successfully landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and a graduate from the University of West Florida College of Business played a key role in getting it there.

Joseph Bergstrom, a 2009 UWF graduate, works in Logistics and Material Services in the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His role is to ensure government owned property is properly protected, maintained, preserved and tracked. The Mars Curiosity Rover was one of four missions that he and his colleagues have provided logistics support for this year. They were responsible for arranging transportation of large amounts of flight hardware and ground support equipment for the missions from California to Florida.

“It was wonderful to be a part of the [Mars Rover Curiosity] mission,” he said. “It was a humbling experience, a reminder that the universe is so big. I hope this will inspire the next generation for future NASA missions.”

Bergstrom attributes much of his success at NASA to the education he received at UWF while he was earning his BSBA in global marketing. While at UWF, Bergstrom also earned a certificate in supply chain logistics management under the direction of Dr. Scott Keller, which played a crucial role in helping him get a job at NASA right out of college. He said the College of Business gave him “the critical skills needed to be able to effectively coordinate and document shipments.”

Bergstrom said the main piece of advice he would give to current students would be to “stay flexible and pay attention in all of your classes.”

“I majored in marketing, but it was my supply chain logistics and operations management classes that got me the awesome job I have now,” he said. “There was a position open at NASA that called for that kind of experience, and thanks to my certification, I had exactly what they were looking for.”

The most outstanding qualities about the UWF College of Business that Bergstrom remembers are the dedicated, high quality faculty, some of whom he is still in contact with, and personalized attention in small classes.

“It was wonderful to be in a marketing research class with only 20 people and the professor who wrote the textbook,” Bergstrom said.

Bergstrom said he was impressed with the development of the new College of Business Education Center.

“I’ve seen the pictures, and it looks really good,” he said. “It looks like a nice, collaborative space that will be a great facility for the current and future students. I’m pretty jealous of them, actually.”

In October 2012, the University of West Florida will celebrate the grand opening of the state-of-the-art College of Business Education Center. For additional information on the College of Business Grand Opening, visit