photo of Rohan Sikdar

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Technical Area

Space Flight

Hometown

McKinney, TX

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I have always been passionate about space ever since I was a little kid. I chose to pursue aerospace engineering so that I can contribute to advancements in human spaceflight and expand our reach into the universe. My ultimate goal is to become an astronaut and go to space one day.

Who has been your most influential ASE or EM professor and why?

My most influential professor so far in ASE has been my Low Speed Aerodynamics professor, Dr. Raghav Mahalingam. Although I will be pursuing the space track, I was still very interested in low speed aerodynamics and that is because of Dr. Mahalingam and his teaching style. His lectures were always interesting and I was never afraid to ask questions or go to his office hours if I couldn't grasp a topic. Most importantly, he inspired me to be a better student overall. Throughout my first two years, I was feeling very challenged and as if I was not smart enough or dedicated enough to earn this degree and become an aerospace engineer. However, he has reignited my passion for learning and has encouraged me to feel that I definitely can be successful in this field.

Has involvement in student groups and/or organizations made a difference in your education? If so, how?

Involvement in student organizations has made a huge difference in my education. Being a member of student orgs such as Longhorn Rocketry Association and Texas Spacecraft Laboratories has given me valuable hands-on experience. It is an amazing feeling to see my knowledge translate to tangible outcomes such as rockets and satellites.

I have also learned many soft skills from my leadership positions in both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Peer Advising. By being the leader of both groups, I have learned many professional skills, including teamwork, communication and mentorship.

How do you plan to use your ASE/EM degree in the future?

I would like to work in the space industry and contribute to human spaceflight and exploration. I am full of curiosity and want to contribute to human exploration while working for NASA or in the private sector. After working in the industry for many years, I would like to work in K-12 education and help reform the U.S. public education system to foster curiosity and a passion for learning from a young age. I would also love to follow the footsteps of both of my parents and become a high school teacher one day.

What are some things you really enjoy about living in Austin, TX?

I am a big foodie, so I love the gastronomy of Austin. Along with the best BBQ in the world, this city offers plenty of variety, so I can always find something I am in the mood for. I also love music, and luckily Austin is a city most artists stop in when on tour. I've gone to plenty of concerts and it's only a quick bike or bus ride to get to the most common venues downtown. Lastly, as a film fan, I love going to Alamo Drafthouse to watch movies with my friends.