photo of Michael Webber
ME Professor, UT Austin and Chief Science & Technology Officer, ENGIE

Job Title

Professor and Chief Science and Technology Officer


The University of Texas and Austin and ENGIE


Austin, TX

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree?

I wanted to get involved with space exploration.

Describe your current position.

At UT, my group of students and post-docs analyze energy and environmental problems at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization. At ENGIE I oversee their global research portfolio, which includes 900 researchers and an annual budget of $200 million.

What do you like most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I love to learn and teach. The most challenging aspects are finding the resources we need to maintain forward momentum.

What are your career goals?

I already have two dream jobs, so my only remaining career goal is spend a few months each year writing books while sipping tea and enjoying the view of something beautiful.

Which student projects / organizations were you involved with in ASE/EM? 

AIAA and Longhorn Band. Longhorn Band in particular was transformative for me.

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

Yes, I worked two summers at NASA Ames Research Center, thanks to Dr. Hans Mark's intervention.

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs?

Gain leadership experience by volunteering with student groups.

Are there courses at UT you wish you had taken? If so, which ones and why?

I also earned a BA in Plan II, so I had a lot of liberal arts courses that I loved, however, I never took courses on introductory geology, psychology, astronomy or classical civilization. I wish I had.

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

I chose the track that aligned with my personal passion (space exploration).

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

Dr. Hans Mark (who intervened to mentor me and get me an internship at NASA) and Dr. Varghese (who hired me as an undergraduate research assistant).

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

History of Space Exploration by Dr. Hans Mark because it was incredible.

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

Learn. Everything. You. Can.

Are you still working in the field of your degree? If not, why?

Yes and no. Now doing energy systems, but I picked up the fundamentals in ASE.

What is something that most people don't know about you?

I was the drum major of the Longhorn Band.