Samuel Kurtin

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Technical Area

Spaceflight

Hometown

Georgetown, TX

What made you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree? 

I have been fascinated with aerospace for as long as I can remember! I distinctly recall exhausting my elementary school’s collection of books about space, and having to browse the public library for fresh material about outer space. As I went through middle school and high school, I began enjoying my math and science classes. What sealed the deal for me was participating in the NASA High School Aerospace Scholars program, a semester long online aerospace course followed by a week of hands-on activities at the Johnson Space Center. After completing my week at Johnson, where the students of the program were brought together to design a hypothetical human mission to Mars, I personally committed to pursuing an aerospace degree.

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

Dr. Tan Bui, who taught me Engineering Computation, changed my mindset about learning in college because he made me realized that studying engineering is about more than simply memorizing specific processes to solve problems. Although I expect myself to master each small detail while I am studying a subject, ten years into the workforce, I might not be able to recall the exact math behind the methods that I have learned in my class, but I should still be able to remember the concepts and approaches.

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

In my career, I want to help humans and robots explore outer space. Mars, Enceladus and Europa are all places in our solar system that humans can benefit from by learning more about them. I want participate in space exploration because the possibility of finding life outside of our solar system is very exciting! Also, spinoff ideas from space hardware and software have ushered in fantastic advancements in technology that helps us down here on earth.

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

I love Austin because the city has amazing food trucks, great dance halls and an abundance of stellar live music! 

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

  • My favorite dessert is ice cream, especially cookies and cream!
  • I am the oldest of four siblings in my family. 
  • I enjoy playing the ukulele and drum set.