photo of Robert Wayne Hazlehurst with snowy mountains in the background

Current Job

High School Pre-Engineering Teacher

Current Employer

Castle View High School in the Douglas County School District 

Current Location

Castle Rock, CO

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I had a passion for aviation from a young age.

What student projects/organizations were you involved with and how did your experience in these group/s help prepare you for your career?

Participating in AIAA (including one year as vice president of the UT chapter) meant greater interaction with the faculty and the industry, which broadened my understanding of the field and the career opportunities.

Were you involved in any fellowships or internships? If so, please explain and discuss the benefits.

I didn’t have formal internships. However, I had summer jobs at Bendix Aerospace in Brazil working in aircraft instrumentation sales support, McDonnell Douglas in Houston working in space shuttle re-entry analysis, and IBM in Denver working in CAD hardware and software sales support.

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs? If so, please explain.

I recommend that students work on the ability to communicate effectively through writing. In our global economy communication has to span long distances and time zones, and email has become the backbone. Don't allow people on your global team to think less of what you have to say because you can't spell and use proper grammar.

Why did you choose one track over the other (atmospheric/space)? Do you feel this has made any difference in your career?

I chose atmospheric because of my passion for aviation. It did get me started in my career since my first job was serving as a flight test engineer on helicopter programs and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor. Ironically, I spent most of the rest of my career working in the space business. It was more in a business development and management role where I needed a solid understanding of space (which I got primarily from my orbital course), but I did not need to be a technical expert.

What are your career goals?

To make a difference in the lives of our youth and encourage them to pursue STEM careers.

Who was your most influential ASE or EM professor and why?

I interacted with Dr. Dolling more than any other professor because he was our AIAA adviser. Furthermore he shared a lot of stories from his industry experience, and I enjoyed his compressible fluids course.

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

My most influential course was the flight-test course with Dr. Fowler because it had direct application to what I ended up doing in my first job. There was also my orbital class taught by a grad student because he forced us to really think and solve problems, and it was the foundation I drew from for much of my career.

What is one piece of advice you have for our students?

Take at least one class just for fun each semester. I took a lot of physical education courses like fencing, archery, and scuba diving. You'll probably never have the chance to do those things again once you leave college.

Are you still working in the aerospace engineering field? If not, why?

Yes and no. I spent most of my career in the aerospace industry (about 20 years), but now I'm educating high school students about engineering. Within that I teach about and relate a lot of stories about aerospace engineering.

Do you have a favorite memory as a UT aerospace student?

My favorite memory was doing a big AIAA model rocket fly-off.

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

1. I met David, "The Boy in The Plastic Bubble," through a neighbor in Houston that developed his mini-spacesuit so he could go outside and play. I visited their home, met David, and saw "The Plastic Bubble."

2. My family lived in Brazil during my elementary years and again during my college years, and I speak fluent Portuguese (although it is rusty now).

3. I can sing a large part of Rappers Delight.