photo of Erik Mills


Aerospace Engineering

Technical Area



Houston, TX

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I have to thank my eleventh grade physics teacher for this one. It was the end of the year, post-AP Tests, and she just needed something productive for us to do. She gave us a simple PowerPoint assignment in which we could pick literally anything related to physics and make a simple presentation covering that topic. It was one of those assignments where as long as you did something, you'd get a 100. My partner and I decided to do our presentation over the physics of flight. What was supposed to be an easy, in class assignment quickly spiraled into an obsession. For the next three days, I researched as much as I could, took pages of detailed notes, and annoyed my friends with all of the information I had learned. I found a topic that I was genuinely intrigued by and that motivated me to take an active role in my own education. When the time came to decide which major I wanted to apply to at UT, there was no question in my mind as to what I wanted to do. The decision to study aerospace engineering was obvious.

How has involvement in student groups and/or organizations made a difference in your education?

My involvement in DBF (Design, Build, Fly) defined my first year at UT and I am all the better for it. Things were not always easy, but I knew that I always had a safe place at DBF doing what we love to do surrounded by good friends. As I freshman, I had basically no aerospace specific classes and therefore everything I know was learned through hands on experience at DBF. I believe that will benefit me greatly as we move into the more ASE specific classes in the degree plan.

If you participated in study abroad, please include a brief description about your experience. 

This past summer, I was privileged enough to travel to Freiburg, Germany for the Engineering Design & Graphics Maymester. The class gave me a rare opportunity to experience a new culture for an extended period of time. We were able to meet incredible students from the University of Freiburg who took us in, cooked us meals, and gave us the opportunity to practice what little German language skills we had. Because of Freiburg's central location in Europe, we were able to travel the continent with relative ease to places like Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland. Going to Germany for that month was an incredible experience and was worth every penny.

List three things that most people don't know about you.

  • I am named after Michael Jordan (Erik JORDAN Mills). 
  • Despite growing up in Houston, I was actually born in Austin. 
  • A lot of people know this one, but I did theater for nine years. That includes musicals, Shakespeare, and other straight plays.