Walter Stark
Walter Stark
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by the Cockrell School of Engineering
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2024
Plano, TX
High School
Plano Senior High School

From early explorations with Lego robots to delving deep into robotics research, my journey is marked by a passion for robotics. Introduced to robotics through Lego kits in elementary school, I embarked on a path of continuous learning and competition. Through numerous FIRST competitions, I honed my skills in building and programming robots, eventually participating in seven world championships prior to UT. My thirst for knowledge exposed me to the vast scope of robotics, prompting me to explore areas such as mechanism design, autonomous software, and machine learning.

At UT Austin, I am pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, fueled by a desire to deepen my understanding of robotics and broaden my skill set. I will complete both in 4 years thanks to Forty Acres. Engaging in diverse experiences, from holding leadership positions on a solar car team to conducting research in robotics, I have gained invaluable insights into interdisciplinary collaboration and problem-solving. My time abroad at ETH Zürich further fueled my passion, exposing me to cutting-edge research and inspiring me to investigate human-centered robotics applications. Ultimately, my goal is to leverage my interdisciplinary knowledge to drive positive change in the robotics industry.

Being part of the Forty Acres Program has been the cornerstone of my experience at UT Austin. The program created a strong sense of community resulting in an easier transition into college and producing what I hope to be many lifelong friends. Before the Forty Acres Program, I never left the United States, had a passport, or even considered studying abroad. Thanks to the program I was able to spend a semester studying in Zürich, Switzerland an academically rigorous yet extremely fun experience. I will be forever grateful to have been part of the Forty Acres Program at UT Austin. The program has provided opportunities I wouldn’t have dreamed possible.

B.S. / M.S. Mechanical Engineering

Honors Programs
Engineering Honors Program

Other Academic Interests
Certification of Expertise in Robotics, Computer Science, Machine Learning

Extracurricular Activities
Longhorn Racing Solar, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Robotics Research in the Human Centered Robotics Lab and Tehrani Group Research Lab

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program?
The global experiences provided by the Forty Acres Scholars Program were extremely attractive to me. Unfortunately, I’ve never left the U.S., and while I always used this tidbit as a personal "fun fact," exploring the world is a dream of mine. I want to gain a better understanding of the problems facing our world and the Forty Acres Scholars Program is the best avenue for me to pursue this. I was also drawn to the diverse connections the program provides, particularly the enrichment stipend and Freshman Dinner Series. I fell in love with the concept of the Forty Acres Scholars family and mentorship, and I can’t wait to be a part of this program over the next few years.