Paul Woodrow

Paul Woodrow

President's Scholar

College of Engineering
Aerospace Engineering


Why did you choose your major?

Both of my grandpas were mechanics who worked on commercial and military aircraft, so being around the aerospace industry is a family trade. My fascination and love for aircraft led me to choose Aerospace Engineering so that I could work in a field that captivates me and allows me to contribute to the future of aviation technology. Being an Aerospace Engineer is more than just a title to me; it gives me a chance to really go to work each day excited about what I do.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

I am both honored and humbled to be receiving this award. All of my academic education has been focused on truly understanding and mastering the material presented to me, and being recognized in this manner shows that my success is evident and my hard work has paid off. I am thankful to receive recognition for the dedication I have shown over the past few years.

Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

My family has been absolutely instrumental in my academic success. In high school, my parents allowed me to navigate towards a career choice, giving me great freedom to choose a path that pursued my passion. By doing so, their support inspired a great deal of confidence and fervor to succeed in my selected field. My wife has also been supportive of my rigorous schedule and countless nights at school in pursuit of my academic goals, and her support has encouraged my desire to excel.

I certainly would not be where I am without the help and guidance of all of my professors. Most of my professors at the community colleges I attended really sparked a passion for engineering, science, and math in me, and my Aerospace Professors have nurtured this zeal. Their support has allowed me to be creative in my approach to learning and has given me the opportunity to develop lifelong learning skills, while furthering my understanding of the subjects.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

You will learn as much as you want to in college and ultimately you are responsible for the knowledge that you obtain. Simply taking the easy way out will not take you anywhere in your career. Strive for excellence and try to master the material presented in your classes. It is paramount to remember that you are in school to prepare for a career, and the better you prepare yourself, the more success you will have in your field. Finally, do not ever be discouraged if you cannot graduate in four years because a college degree is the same regardless of how long it took you. All that matters is that in the end, you can look back and say that you were dedicated to learning the entire time.

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

I have a career goal of becoming an accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and as such, it requires a lifetime dedicated to aircraft education and learning. I want to start my career with technical work at an aircraft design company, becoming familiar with all aspects of the design and manufacturing process. After that I would love to return to school to pursue a masters/PhD in a more specialized area of aircraft design and control. I also plan on obtaining my private pilot’s license so that I can turn all of my theoretical knowledge into applicable flight experience. Beyond this, I would even like to go to school to become an aircraft mechanic, so that I can really understand all aspects of aircraft, from design and operation, to maintenance and construction.