• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2024
  • Hometown: The Woodlands, TX

About: Hello! My name is Jackson Schilling. I was born in Lawton, Oklahoma but was mostly raised in the Houston, Texas area. I have lived in six different countries including the USA, Trinidad, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Canada.

I'm a senior in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. I am a Command and Data Handling engineer for two satellite projects as part of the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory, am an Avionics Hardware Mentor for the Texas Rocket Engineering Laboratory, and am a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I plan to work at NASA as a Flight Controller in Mission Control while pursuing an MS in Electrical Engineering.

In my free time, you can find me hiking, camping, backpacking, and/or cycling around Texas and the United States. I have visited 23 National Parks (so far) and am currently attempting to visit all of Texas' State Parks! I am constantly planning my next outdoor adventure.

Why I Ride

My grandfather Patrick is one of the people I look up to most in my life. To everyone else, he is Dr. Barnes, a retired pediatric neuroradiologist with an awe-inspiring career that has changed the lives of thousands of children for the better. To my family, he is Papa Pat, a seventy-something vegan that can run laps around anyone above the age of 20 (read: me). He is environmentally conscious and cares for the world around him while also spending plenty of time enjoying the outdoors—a model citizen to say the least. I was able to spend an entire summer with him in California in 2018, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had (although I haven't converted to being vegan yet, there is still time). Papa Pat even came to UT for Valentine's Day in 2020! We toured the campus, I showed him my favorite restaurants, and we played table tennis at a bar. Later that year, we found out Papa Pat had bladder cancer. Luckily, he is over a year out from being cancer-free, making the best of his time to travel and explore the world around him (as well as spend some time in Austin with me). He has made a measurable impact on my life and inspired and enabled me to do more incredible things. If it wasn't for current cancer treatments and detection, he might not have been able to continue to make such a massive positive impact on the people around him. I ride for Papa Pat.

I used to not care for the outdoors at all. It was hot, sweaty, and just overall lackluster compared to the safety of air conditioning. However, that all changed once I met Erin, my girlfriend. Her love of the outdoors suddenly began to rub off on me as we spent more time together. We started exploring local and state parks, even taking road trips to National Parks, and went on my first few camping trips together. Outside didn’t seem like suffering anymore, just waiting to come back home to shower off sweat (Houston, Texas humid heat in the summer is the worst), but an opportunity to explore and experience the absolute wonders that nature has to offer. Within the first year of our relationship, we road-tripped to 20 National Parks in 20 days throughout the Southwest of the US. To this day, we are still checking off park after park, one by one. I was hooked. While getting her undergraduate degree, she biked from Washington, DC to San Francisco, California over the course of a summer, something I initially thought was absolutely nuts (still is). She would tell me about how beautiful each part of the country was, how kind the people that hosted her were, and the long-lasting friendships she built with her team. It sounded exhilarating. After being exposed to the great outdoors and her love for cycling, I thought “I can do that”. I applied to Texas 4000 and now I’m here. She gets a lot of the credit for me taking this leap, and I would have never thought of this as a realistic option if not for her. I ride for Erin.