Opportunity Maker

5 Students Who are Opportunity Makers

5 Students Who
Anthony Cofer

Anthony Cofer

  • Laci Brock
  • Anthony Cofer
  • Alisha Garcia
  • Elias Theodosis
  • Crissy Travis

Name: Anthony Cofer
Major: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Year: Pursuing Ph.D., 2013
Hometown: Paoli, Indiana

Opportunity knocked and Anthony Cofer answered. After 19 years making furniture in an Indiana factory, retirement and relaxation wasn’t far off. But instead of kicking back, he launched a new life — and he's making the most of every opportunity.

Second chance

“In 2003 the furniture factory was bought out, and people were getting laid off. I had to make a change. It was a choice to start over again in another factory or go back to school. After I got my master’s, I thought, ‘Should I go back and get a Ph.D.?’ I figured I’d rather get one than regret later that I didn’t.”

Wide-eyed wonder

“We moved to Orlando, Fla., when I was 4 years old, and I used to watch the Gemini and Apollo missions. I was on the playground at school when Skylab went up, and I remember watching the moon landing on a black-and-white TV when I was 7.”

Rocket science. Really.

“When I was a kid I would make rockets and set them off, and rocket fuel would go off and fill the house. I thought those rockets were really neat. Even when I worked in the factory, I messed around with electronics and made a homemade laser.”

Eye on the prize

“I’m getting my Ph.D. in microthruster technology. Microthrusters are used to turn satellites. I study the position and orientation of satellites through the use of microthrusters and the aerodynamics of the propellant inside them. Hopefully I can get into propulsion research and development somewhere.”

Fail? Not this guy.

“I’ve failed so many times that I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. I accepted it, picked up and tried again.”

By Amy Raley
Published April 2012

Anthony Cofer