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Robert L. Woods, Ph.D.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering
I was a born engineer and teacher. I have really found my passion in teaching engineering and influencing lives.
Being born in a small farming town in Oklahoma, extracurricular educational and interesting activities were limited, so you had to entertain yourself. I evidently started my career with lawn mowers, bicycles, motor scooters, and cars. After engineering degrees from Southern Methodist University and Oklahoma State University, I worked 3 years in research with the government in Washington, D.C.
After that, I moved to the University of Texas at Arlington and did the usual things of teaching, funded research, publishing papers, sponsoring professional societies, and advising graduate students. I also became involved in consulting for several large companies both in the US and internationally. I was the co-owner of a robotics and industrial automation company for 17 years.
I am best known for my sponsoring of student design teams, including Mini Baja and Formula SAE, plus several other related competitions. I have sponsored more than 60 teams and gained international recognition.
You would like to think that you planned your career path in advance, but sometimes it just happens. However, mine could not have happened better, and I think it is ideal for my position at the university. I have hands-on experience while growing up, research experience with the government, industrial experience as an owner of a small company, and consulting experience with large international companies. This makes my qualifications for the senior capstone design ideal as well as my ability to bring practical interpretations to the formal class lectures.