skip to main content

AE students get knighted


Debra Levey Larson

This year, two of the dozen students selected to be Knights of St. Patrick are in the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering. Each year eight to 15 students in the College of Engineering are selected for their outstanding leadership, excellence in character, and exceptional contribution to the college and its students. Courtney Leverenz and Emily Williams are outstanding AE seniors and overwhelmingly fit the criteria for selection. They participate in many activities outside of the classroom, including leadership roles, while maintaining a strong academic record.

Courtney Leverenz
Courtney Leverenz

Courtney Leverenz has excelled since she first set foot on campus. As an AE freshman in 2016, she received the highest level of evaluation for her teamwork in a class. During her undergraduate years, she has earned two NASA internships and was selected as a Brooke Owens Fellow for the summer of 2020. Through that program, worked at The Spaceship Company and accepted a full-time position from them to start this summer.

In addition to her substantial experience with 3D printing and printers, AE faculty member Brian Woodard stated in a nomination letter, “Courtney clearly possesses strong technical skills and a desire to support all young people interested in STEM. In 2018, she and a team of students developed a one-day educational outreach program designed specifically to encourage STEM involvement for individuals with disabilities. As director of the 2020 Illinois Space Day, Courtney was not satisfied with canceling the activities due to the pandemic.She transformed Illinois Space Day in to Illinois Space Week consisting of online events lasting two hours each day.” 

Emily Williams
Emily Williams

Emily Williams has served as president of Women in Aerospace for the past two years. In this role, she has helped improve female retention, coordinated outreach events, and much more. She is also one of the Head Engineering Learning Assistants helping with ENG 100 activities.

Academically, Williams has maintained both James Scholar status, has been on the Dean’s List every single semester, and has received 12 scholarships. She has also been involved in research with the Numerics and Unsteady Flows Group and the Center for Hypersonics and Entry Systems Studies.

In her letter nominating Williams, Assistant Director of the Center for Academic Resources in Engineering Dana Tempel said, “I have worked with hundreds of engineering students on the CARE team. Emily is a one-of-a-kind student who is genuinely interested in excelling herself but is committed to helping her peers meet their fullest potential. Emily will be graduating in the spring and will have left a definite lasting impression on those who had the pleasure to know her and work with her. Emily has influenced the lives of many students and I know will continue to influence those she works with in the future.”

Learn more about the history of the Knights of St. Patrick.