ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - Jim & Jeff Weathers

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - Jim & Jeff Weathers

WeathersThe world of aerospace has always been one to chart the uncharted, pierce the sky, and go beyond. At the forefront of this endeavor are Jim and Jeff Weathers, Starkville’s very own twin prodigies. Their legacy at Mississippi State University (MSU) is a testament to the potent mix of Starkville upbringing, a nurturing academic environment, and a competitive yet cooperative twin dynamic. 

For over a dozen years, these identical twins have jointly faced and tackled some of the most challenging problems in aerospace. Their most recent accomplishment was the launch of NASA’s Space Launch System for the Artemis I mission on November 16, 2022.  

Beyond Artemis I, they've played a pivotal role as early architects for the Boeing-built Exploration Upper Stage for the upcoming Artemis IV mission, a highly anticipated project whose development the brothers have invested a significant part of their careers in. 

But all great tales have humble beginnings, and the Weathers cherish and admire their experience in Starkville and MSU. To them, Starkville wasn't just a place of residence but a community of possibilities. Both their parents were MSU graduates and retired MSU employees, so the twins had ample exposure to the campus at a young age. 

“Our mother was a secretary in the Biochemistry department at Dorman Hall and, in the summers, she would drop us off at the MSU swimming pool (adjacent to Dorman Hall) every day after her lunch break and pick us up on her way home. This gave us unlimited opportunities to roam the campus with frequent visits to the Student Union Arcade, Mazzios Pizza, and McCarthy Gym (when it was accidentally left open),” the brothers say. 

This early roaming around campus in their youth allowed them to connect with MSU’s STEM faculty, a crucial element in their lives since few of the Weaver family members had careers in math and science. Exposure to MSU's skilled community made a career in STEM a possibility for the twins, and when they enrolled in MSU, that community aided them along their journey. 

“One of our neighbors was Dr. Paul Cuicchi, who was a professor at MSU and the Starkville High School physics teacher. His enthusiasm and encouragement helped us believe. Having professors in the ME dept like Dr. Rogelio Luck, Dr. B. K. Hodges, etc. helped us prepare. We definitely left MSU with everything we needed in our toolbox to be very successful,” they said.  

Perhaps the most valuable skill in their toolbox honed during their upbringing and education at MSU was their ability to push each other to be the best they could be. This skill is the cornerstone of their success and fosters a synergetic culture of team collaboration. 

Young Jim & Jeff Weathers pose in Maroon and White.

“We’re both very competitive, so it was only natural that we have always competed. However, it’s a supportive competitiveness with the ultimate goal being to give each other the best chance at success.  I think growing up this way has made us really enjoy the team environment. We like to see our team members succeed, and we try to make sure we put them in situations where they can shine and be successful,” they said. 

While collaboration is essential, the brothers also preach the value of being a humble life-long learner. Their involvement in Boeing’s Technical Fellowship underscores this commitment.  

“Being a part of the technical fellowship significantly increases your sphere of influence at the Boeing Co., which allows access to aerospace professionals all across the enterprise. Being a humble, life-long learner has been one of the keys to my success, and I feel like I can learn something from anyone. That is one of the most important lessons I try to pass on to my younger mentees. Space exploration is hard, and if you don’t come into it with humility, the field will humble you very quickly,” Jim says.  

Even with their impressive careers, giving back remains a core value. As Boeing Executive Focals, they have taken their relationship with MSU a notch higher. They regularly contribute to scholarships, develop courses, and hope to continue nurturing the bond between MSU and Boeing. 

When reflecting on their upbringing and current situation, they are grateful and humble. 

“We’re just two regular people blessed enough to be raised in a town where the entire community nurtures education and technical achievement. Our love for Starkville and MSU, in particular, will never fade, and we’ll always strive to give back, which includes building on the relationship between MSU and the Boeing Co. Lastly, anyone who is lucky enough to land at a place like MSU has the opportunity to do absolutely anything.” 

The Weathers twins might be giants in aerospace today, but their hearts remain rooted in MSU.