Motorsports Led Me to Tesla and SpaceX: Morgan Fuller

As a lifelong motorsports fan, Morgan Fuller always has his eyes on the finish line. But his racing experiences at Purdue have taken him beyond the finish line, and on to internships with both Tesla and SpaceX!



Morgan is currently a senior in Mechanical Engineering, with a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. So what brought him to Purdue? A go-kart race!

“One of the biggest things that led me to Purdue was the Purdue Grand Prix,” he says, referring to the traditional go-kart race held every spring on campus since 1958. “I have a go-kart at home in Colorado that I’m continuously working on, and I love racing. When I heard about the Grand Prix, I was excited for the opportunity to nurture my passion, but also learn about engineering at the same time.”

Another selling point for Morgan was Purdue’s massive chapter of NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers (which was originally founded at Purdue). “During my initial exposure to Purdue, NSBE members helped introduce me to campus. NSBE and the Minority Engineering Program have been with me every step of the way.”

NSBE also occasionally hosted a Grand Prix team, but it had been dormant for years. Morgan wanted to change that. “I came in with a great group of people who were passionate about motorsports,” says Morgan, “and we were all determined to work hard and revive the team. In 2019, Team NSBE finished the race for the first time in a decade, which is the accomplishment I’m most proud of!”

Morgan has participated in every capacity at Grand Prix, from driver to crew chief to technical lead. But his favorite aspect is the people. “Recruiting people, managing a budget, and watching the team grow is my favorite part,” he says. “Driving is fun, but growing a team and watching everyone get better is such a fulfilling feeling.”

He also works to pass on his experience to the next generation, teaching students as part of a hands-on VIP (Vertically Integrated Projects) course about go-karts. “It’s all about applying what we learn in class in a real-world situation,” says Morgan. “We learn about thermodynamics, and we can apply that knowledge to the internal combustion engine of the car. Material science teaches us how flexible certain metals are, and we use that to build our chassis so that it flexes the right way. Motorsports helps to take that learning a step further.”

Race to the future

It’s one thing to tinker with a 15-horsepower go-kart with 9-inch tires. It’s quite another to work at the largest electric car manufacturer in the world. “I love Tesla,” Morgan says. “They’re my favorite cars to drive! They are insanely quick, and the interiors are mind-blowing. So to get an internship with them was a big deal.”

After sharing his story about turning around the NSBE Grand Prix team, Morgan successfully got an internship with Tesla in California. “Initially, it was very intimidating,” remembers Morgan. “You don’t really know what to expect, only that they have very high expectations for you. I worked as a Process Engineering intern with tooling, so I was involved with the robots, and manufacturing different parts of the car. It was a challenge, but I also benefitted from a big mentoring aspect, so I felt very supported through my team.”

But one challenge wasn’t enough for him. “Working at an environment like Tesla really opened my eyes,” he says. “It was so fast-paced, like a scrappy start-up culture. I thought, where else am I going to get an experience like that? So I decided to go big and apply to SpaceX. It was a long process of me interviewing, getting denied, refining my resume, talking to people, attending events, networking with the company. It took more than a year, and involved several ‘no’s, before I finally got a ‘yes!’”

As a Customer Operations & Integration intern, Morgan had the opportunity to work with NASA and SpaceX on several of their Human Spaceflight missions, including Crew-1, Crew-2, Crew-3, and Inspiration4; as well as a cargo resupply mission, CRS-22. “I knew it was going to be a challenge,” Morgan says, “But looking back, I’ve learned so much and grown so much. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Checkered flag

For Morgan, motorsports is more than just a hobby; it’s been the catalyst to both academic success and career success. “I definitely recommend getting involved with Grand Prix, or any of the Purdue Motorsports teams on campus,” he says. “When you’re passionate about something, having the opportunity to pursue that, and develop your technical skills at the same time, is a win-win.”


Writer: Jared Pike,, 765-496-0374

Source: Morgan Fuller,,, LinkedIn