photo of Wes Adams standing in front of space shuttle

Hometown

Houston, TX

Technical Area

Atmospheric

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I've had a fascination with flight (be it atmospheric or space) from a very young age. I'm a big fan of science fiction, so it's always a treat to see what a little imagination can conjure up. I doubt I'll see us colonize another planet in my lifetime, but you can bet I'll do what I can to make it happen!

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

During my time here at UT, I've had the pleasure of working with and learning from several bright minds — both students and faculty alike. I've been fortunate enough to take classes with professors who have had extensive experience in the field. My fellow classmates have made the curriculum a competitive and memorable experience. The aerospace department may be a smaller program compared to the other majors, but I also think it's a more tightly knit community because of it.

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

He retired recently, but I really enjoyed taking Compressible Flow with Dr. Kiehne. I first took Applied Thermodynamics with him and realized just how knowledgeable on the subject he was. On top of that, he had decades of teaching experience and a passion for his profession I hadn't seen before. He made sure his classes were challenging (and believe me, they were), but he taught them in a way that made sure you knew the curriculum inside and out. He was very approachable and always had a vested interest in his students' learning.

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

Easily Flight Dynamics. Before taking that class I had a general idea of why planes fly the way they do. Now I can't help but think of rolling moments and banking angles every time I hop on a plane. Please, make it stop.

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

Being in student groups makes a world of difference in college. If your grades aren't where you want them to be, join an org (or several!). I joined the UAV team my first semester and stuck with it for most of college. I was approached by a professor who needed help with one of the programs I had been working with. He liked my work and offered me a spot on his research team, which I graciously accepted. When it came to applying for internships, he wrote me a letter of recommendation, which landed me a summer internship at Boeing! So has my extracurricular involvement made a difference? Absolutely.

If you are a transfer student, how did you adapt to UT Aerospace?

When I applied to UT, I was accepted as a CAP (Coordinated Admissions Program) student. I spent a year at UTSA in undeclared science before transferring to the aerospace program. The curriculum was more demanding, and that took some getting used to. What made the transition easy for me though was staying active in different orgs. I never felt lonely or bored because I was always doing something outside of class. So for those of you transfer students out there, I strongly urge you to get involved! You'll find the engineering community at UT is an inclusive one, and really strives for all of its students to know that they belong.

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

Hopefully to find work doing something I love — making huge chunks of metal fly.

Where is your favorite place to study?

Definitely not my apartment, too many distractions. I would say the LRC (Learning Resource Center) in WRW. It's gone through a bit of a makeover since I got here, but what goes on inside hasn't changed — a bunch of sleep-deprived aerospace students staying up into odd hours of the night working on any and all kinds of assignments. We work together; we suffer together. I wouldn't want it any other way.

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

Where do I begin? The food, the music, the night life, everyone already knows about that. I think the people of Austin is what makes it such a great city. Whether they've lived here for a year or their whole life, Austinites will always have a good story to tell and know how to have fun.

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

  • I was seriously considering going into the medical field before I came to UT.
  • I've never seen an episode of Game of Thrones.
  • I’ve never been to a UT football game (working on it though!)