photo of aaron park

Aaron Park

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Technical Area

Atmospheric Flight

Hometown

Stillwater, Oklahoma

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

My interest in aerospace engineering began when I flew overseas to visit family in middle school. I remember landing at Narita International Airport in Japan, walking around the terminal, and finding myself in front of an Airbus A380 Jumbo Jet, marveling at the size. I have been fascinated with the science of flight since. I also took part in local FIRST or VEX robotics competitions throughout middle and high school and I really enjoyed learning about engineering. With both experiences, I decided to pursue aerospace engineering.

What has been your biggest reward while pursuing your aerospace degree at UT? 

My biggest reward has been working with my classmates and teammates through our labs and organization activities. It is inspiring to learn about everyone's individual passions and goals. We always create a supportive environment for each other to pursue those ambitions.

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

Dr. Mahalingham has been the most influential professor for me. Learning through his lectures and engagements with students has reaffirmed my desire to enter the aerospace engineering field. His passion for aerodynamics and his care for the students really shows both inside and outside of the classroom.

What has been your most influential ASE or EM course and why?

The most influential ASE course so far is Low-Speed Aerodynamics. It is the first class where you explore real aerodynamic analysis. The course material is challenging because there are a lot of new concepts, but it is very fun to explore at the same time.

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

I have been with the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team (UAV Austin) for two years now. UAV Austin has provided me with a hands-on learning experience that I would not have received elsewhere at the university. My teammates and I have done anything from throwing objects off parking garages for parachute testing to 3D printing custom vehicles. Many times, our work does not go according to plan, but organizations provide a space to learn by trial and error. You also get to know great people outside of your major with these projects because of the interdisciplinary environment.

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

In the future, I want to use my degree to design new generations of aircraft. There are so many new ideas for air transportation in the future from air taxis to hypersonic flight and even flight on another planet. I want to be part of this exciting new era that is just over the horizon.

Where is your favorite place to study?

My favorite place to study is the EER Inventionworks, second floor. Big tables, big windows, lots of outlets. The perfect place to study with friends or to lay out your work.

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

I really enjoy the outdoor recreation available around Austin. Hiking and biking on trails are some of my favorite things to do on days off. Plus, the weather is usually very warm year-round. I am not a big fan of cold weather, so I enjoy Austin's climate.