2020 AE Graduates
Favorite college memories: “When asked what my favorite memories are from my years in AE at U of I, two things come to mind. The first is seeing and meeting astronaut Mike Hopkins at his talk about life on the International Space Station in Spring of 2017. The second is attending the drone light show for the 75th anniversary of the department in Fall of 2019.”
Immediate plans: “I am planning to continue on to graduate school for a master's degree in aerospace engineering.”
Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years? “I would like to be working for a private spaceflight company helping to develop technology that will continue humanity's mission to develop civilization on the Moon and put astronauts on Mars.”
Favorite college memories: "Spending late nights in the Aerolab working with fellow students and spending late nights in 18C building rockets."
Immediate plans: "I will be continuing on to a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, studying numerical methods for computational fluid dynamics."
Future plans: "Hopefully finishing my Ph.D. and moving on to a full-time research position"
Photo: Ali Lasemi with the Alma Mater holding the Illinois Space Society IREC rocket that he helped build for the IREC 2019 competition.
Favorite college memories: “My favorite memory is the late spring nights during freshman, sophomore, and junior years building rockets for the EOH rocket races!”
Immediate plans: “I'll be working as an Airworthiness Engineer at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia.”
Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years? “I want to be close to finishing an MBA and on my way to a management position at one of the major aerospace firms.”
Favorite college memories: “Eating Cravings and Panda. Staying up with my team building the rocket for senior design. Days and nights in the Aero Lab.”
Immediate plans: “Finish MS degree in robotics at Northwestern University.”
Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years? “Likely continuing on to a Ph.D. and working in a research position, or starting my own business.”
Favorite college memory: “Pulling all-nighters with Illinois Space Society to finish prepping a rocket for test flight.”
Immediate plans: “I plan on starting a career in spacecraft development.”
Future plans: “Further into my career I hope to be working in a program management role for the spacecraft industry.”
Favorite memories: “Studying and working on homework with groups of other students. Learning a lot about industry practices and systems engineering in senior design. Managing the testing team of Student Space Systems.”
Immediate plans: “Attend graduate school with the department in the fall semester in aerospace engineering.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “Working at NASA or another large organization dealing in cutting edge projects in the space industry.”
Favorite college memories: “Great! (with thumbs-up)" -- by Dr. Woodard, the late nights finishing up the AE 353 reports, and Bardeen Quad with the Boneyard Creek in the warm spring.”
Immediate plans: “I plan to attend graduate school in astronomy/physics.”
Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years? “Definitely not on Mars.”
What are your favorite college memories: “Going on bike rides with my friends through campus, working with my peers in Senior Design, AE 461 and AE 483, and finally, getting DP Dough to help me power through late night homework!”
Immediate plans: “Starting work next month as an Applications Engineer for ATEQ, a company that provides leak testing services to the automotive and aircraft industry.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “I want to eventually land a technical role in motorsport, either Formula 1 or Indycar.”
Favorite college memories: “As much as it's weird to say, I loved my all-nighters in the aero lab, I did. It feels good when we struggle together and subsequently succeed together. Looking back even farther, I remember meeting Laura Gerhold for the first time on a tour before I decided to come to Illinois and feeling like Talbot would be my home for four years.”
Immediate plans: “I plan to move to Woburn, Boston with my girlfriend and her dog. I start work with Raytheon IDS at the end of June as a Reliability Engineer.”
Where would you like to be in 5 to 10 years? “I'm hoping to move closer to the development side of engineering and work more closely with aircraft in the defense industry. On the personal side, I would like to be starting my family and growing my roots in a more permanent location. I look forward to coming back to UIUC too and seeing all the changes that have started in the last year!”
Favorite memories: “As grueling as they were, the late night grinds at the aero lab with friends as well as half of the senior design class and the subsequent late night coffee and food runs. As painful as those nights were, they were always a good time.”
Immediate plans: “I will be returning to UIUC to pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “I would like to be in a design role with one of the major companies in the aerospace industry.”
Favorite memories: “Sampling warm matcha lattes at assorted cafes around town while getting work done, spending hours tinkering drones in the UAV Lab - it was so much work but it was so satisfying, late nights at Grainger, studying abroad in Hong Kong, and working on senior design with some 312s in Talbot.”
Immediate plans: “I'm continuing in aeronautics at Stanford this September!”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “I plan to get my Ph.D. six or seven years down the line. Once I get through that, I want to be actively involved in aircraft MDO - most likely as a researcher!”
Favorite college memories: “1) Diving headfirst into Illinois Space Society design competitions during my first semester on campus after transferring from a community college. Little did I know how many late nights in the aerolab this would cause but I wouldn't change it for the world. 2) Yuri's Nights. What more needs to be said? 3) Watching my Illinois Space Society AE199-Intro to Rocketry students successfully launch their high-powered rockets was the apogee of my college career.”
Immediate plans: “Starting full time as a Human Factors Engineer at NASA-JSC supporting Orion Crew Vehicle validation and verification.”
Future plans: “I'd love to be continuing a career at NASA-JSC supporting crewed spaceflight design and developing future space architecture concepts.”
Photo: “My spring 2019 intern rotation at NASA-JSC taken during an EMU training drill.”
Favorite memories: “All the adventures that I had with the UIUC dance community. Growing as an individual and meeting friends who I believe will be lifelong friends. Here's a link to a video of us at a dance competition the past semester! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve72C54DLU8 "
Immediate plans: “Structural Dynamics Engineer at the aerostructures headquarters for Collins Aerospace.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “Honing my craft as a structural engineer or anything else I pursue. Get my M.S. at Illinois or another university. Wherever life takes me, I want to pursue new adventures that give me purpose and fulfillment. To be an individual that people are excited to grow and experience life with. Most importantly, to be happy, fulfilled, and surrounded by people who I have a profound and supportive connection with.”
Favorite college memories: “Learning about and the systems engineering process in senior design. Working with UAVs in 483. Solving design problems in 353. Wind tunnel experiments in 460.”
Immediate plans: “Starting a position at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, IA in Mission Systems.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “I would like to get my M.S. and to have enough experience to be able to mentor other young professionals joining the industry.”
Photo: Katherine O'Connell with her father, Lawrence O'Connell, AE BS '87, standing in front of the Alma Mater in September 2019.
Favorite Memories: “Working with my senior design group non-stop for three days to ‘hopefully’ get our rocket working for launch day.”
Immediate Plans: “I plan on attending grad school starting this upcoming fall here in Department of Aerospace Engineering at Illinois.”
Where I would like to be in 5-10 years: “Hopefully, I plan on working at NASA or another private space company as an Aerospace Systems Engineer.”
Favorite memories: “Attending conferences and presenting my research, conducting research with my labmates in the Autonomous Materials Systems Research Group, organizing and leading GLASS Day with Women in Aerospace, and teaching Aerospace GAMES Camp to local high school students with Dr. Woodard.”
Immediate plans: “I will be beginning my Ph.D. studies in materials science and engineering at Texas A&M University this August.”
Where I’d like to be in 5 to 10 years: “I hope to have earned my Ph.D. from Texas A&M in materials science and engineering and working at a petrochemical company in a research and development role engineering polymers and composites toward a more sustainable future.”
Favorite college memories: "Traveling to NASA's Johnson Space Center as a member of the Illinois Space Society's Micro-g NExT team and getting to test our micrometeoroid damage repair tool in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. I got to sit in on astronauts Jeanette Epps and Shane Kimbrough's pre-dive briefing and personally demonstrate to them how to use our tool. Although time constraints kept our tool from being tested by the astronauts, the tool was tested by the NBL dive team instead and we still received a ton of great feedback! After testing, our team also got a private tour of one of JSC's buildings thanks to Kirk Shireman, the program manager for the International Space Station, who had visited students in AE at UIUC a few weeks before.
Another favorite memory is completely due to the awesome people I have been able to meet and become friends with through the aerospace department. Starting my sophomore year, a group of AE students, mostly friends from ISS, and I started doing massive spring break road trips out west to explore as far and wide as possible. Sophomore year five of us crammed into a tiny Chevy Sonic and drove 4042.5 miles out to Utah, the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, and back in only 9 days. Along the way we also stopped at the Cosmosphere Museum in Kansas to learn more about space history and visited 3 national parks in 24 hours. While I missed the junior year road trip due to study abroad and our senior year road trip was cut short due to the coronavirus (though we still made it to Zion National Park!), these road trip memories are something that I will look back on fondly forever."
Immediate plans: " I will be moving out to the D.C. area to work for Northrop Grumman Space Systems as a Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control Associate Engineer. I am really excited to move to a new area, explore a new city, and get to work on actual spacecraft, which has been a dream of mine!"
Future plans: "In 5 to 10 years I would like to be working on some project relating to human spaceflight, including possibly working on a lunar or Mars mission. I have no idea what this would look like or what my position would be; I just want to be a part of our future trips into space."
Photo: "This picture was taken on my spring break road trip this year, where myself and 9 other aerospace students trekked out to Zion National Park. We had bigger plans to visit several more parks but decided to cut our trip short due to the coronavirus."