DJ Arend DJ Arend '12

It IS Rocket Science

Physics student Daniel “DJ” Arend interns at United Launch Alliance and learns what it takes to launch a real rocket.


Daniel “DJ” Arend now knows that rocket science is every bit as difficult as it seems.

Interning for the past 2 summers with United Launch Alliance (ULA), an aerospace engineering company, he has worked alongside engineers who are busy lighting rocket boosters at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“Each day there was something new going on that illustrated a principle of physics that I learned at Bethel, and it was fascinating to see the things taught in class being applied to real situations,” DJ says.

One ULA engineer, for example, developed a system to triangulate the position of a rocket booster using lasers and computer programming. Thanks to the principles DJ learned in his optics and differential calculus courses, he says he was “able to engage intelligently about the clever system!” No small feat!

DJ credits Bethel’s physics department faculty for the internship and preparing him for a science career. “They take time for every student in their classes and visibly invest themselves in their teaching—with a great deal of joy and good humor!” he says. “They emphasize demonstrations and lab work that make learning tangible.”

Additionally, professors are committed to staying connected with alumni. These lasting relationships often lead to internships and jobs for current students like DJ. “Dr. Beecken, the chair of our department, is always forwarding emails from his friends and colleagues about exciting opportunities for us,” he says.

ULA offered Arend a position as a mechanical engineer in launch operations at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. He excitedly accepted and hopes to wear many hats, like he does at Bethel. He’s acted in theatre productions, sings in the choir, is a Welcome Week coordinator, and the executive director of communications and marketing for the Bethel Student Association.

Through these experiences and his internship, he says he’s learned how to use the skills God’s given him. “When I came to Bethel, I had a passion for leadership and making an impact, but I didn't know exactly how to put that into practice,” he explains. “With the help of my faculty mentors who are always bringing the best out in me, I’m growing into a confident, decisive leader. Bethel urges you to use your gifts to the absolute fullest for God’s glory.”

DJ Arend at his internship site.

Working on the intern model rocket launch in Denver, Colorado.

DJ Arend acts in the theatre performance of Brigadoon.

Under the stage lights during Bethel's production of Brigadoon.

DJ Arend talks with students at Bethel's opporunity fair.

Helping students find ways to get involved on campus through Bethel's Opportunity Fair.