photo of John Mason

John Mason

Major

Computational Engineering

Hometown

Sarasota, FL

What aspect of computational engineering interests you most?

Computational engineering combines engineering, advanced mathematics, statistical analysis and computer science to create a toolkit that solves complex problems across a wide range of industries.

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

Computational engineering has given me access to world-class resources like the supercomputers at TACC and introduced me to professors at the leading-edge of their fields who are passionate about sharing their skills and experience with their students.

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

Professor Viktor Eijkhout helped me and my peers streamline our programming workflows by developing a deep understanding of core programming concepts and implementing programming best practices.

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

In Software Engineering and Design (COE 332) we learned how to create software deployments to bring our computational models to a non-technical audience. We created an intuitive and robust web-based user interface to allow end users to easily interact with our complex models. COE 332 challenged my programming skills by encouraging me to approach the problem from the user’s perspective instead of the programmer’s perspective.

What has been your favorite computationally-based project?

As a sophomore, I participated in the Inventors Program Practicum in partnership with ConocoPhillips. Our cross-disciplinary team used machine learning tools to identify causes of failure for sucker-rod pumps, created an interactive dashboard to visualize the data, and presented a series of suggestions to decrease the likelihood of failure in the future. Through this experience I was able to see how valuable computational methods are in efficiently solving complex real-world problems.

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

Involvement in the UT Sailing Team has helped me develop my leadership skills, exposed me to new ideas and technologies beyond computational engineering, and shown me the value of being part of a cross-disciplinary team.

How do you plan to use your COE degree in the future?

I know I want to focus on areas where I have access to rich datasets and challenging problems, but I have not yet settled on a specific career path. I am excited by the range of applications for my computational engineering skills across a broad set of industries but am leaning towards continuing my education through a graduate program.

Where is your favorite place to study?

The Aerospace Engineering building courtyard is my favorite place to study, but during the winter months you will find me in the ASE computer lab or in the Engineering Education Research Center.

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

In Austin, you’ll always have something to do. I especially enjoy spending time on Lake Travis, hiking on scenic trails and exploring Austin’s incredible restaurants.

List three things that most people don't know about you.
  • I started racing sailboats competitively as a freshman in high school and have since competed in national and international events.
  • I’ve backpacked nearly 250 (non-consecutive) miles.
  • I love to cook and am always excited to share what I make with friends.