photo of Alexus Cottonham


Houston, TX

Technical Area

Space Flight

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I really enjoyed physics in high school and building things. My interest in space and astronomy made me want to pursue aerospace engineering.

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

My biggest reward has been building relationships with other students, faculty and staff. The wonderful people of the aerospace department have encouraged me, given me advice, and inspired me to do more than I thought possible.

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

My most influential ASE professor has been Tan Bui. I took both Intro to Programming and Engineering Computation with him. I was thankful for the opportunities he gave us to give feedback in class on his teaching and class structure. The effort that he put into improving his class was touching and made me want to put equal effort towards my coursework.

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

My most influential course would be both Statics and Solids. I took both courses with Chad Landis and enjoyed learning the material and connecting with the professor. This course is most memorable because it was one of the first times I began to feel like an engineer!

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

Aerospace organizations have been very helpful in engineering education. For the past two years, I have been a member of the Women in Aerospace for Leadership and Development (WIALD) project-based organization. Working on projects from design to test has given me valuable hands-on experience. My favorite part about WIALD is connecting with others by learning about tools and techniques used to create drones, Mars rovers, and more!

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

I got the opportunity to study abroad in Beijing, China in the summer of 2015. Upon leaving, I did not know what to expect as I would be traveling on the other side of the globe. It was an awesome experience where I got to learn about social entrepreneurship or businesses that help solve a social problem. The people were kind and the food was delicious. I hope to use my engineering knowledge and the business skills I learned to better the lives of those around me.  

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

  • I don't like to eat nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pecans, etc).
  • For the longest time I wanted to be a mermaid.
  • My minor is astronomy.