From designing drones to training astronauts to performing research at NASA, our graduating students plan to make a difference in their fields when they step off the Forty Acres. We wish them all the best in their endeavors and visited with a few of them on their way out the door.

Jesse Quattrociocchi

Hometown: Rochester, NY
Degree: B.S., Aerospace Engineering


If you were to go back in time and tell Jesse Quattrociocchi that in the future he would be an aerospace engineer, it’s possible he wouldn’t believe you. After dropping out of high school, he joined the military where he discovered an interest in aerospace. Later, with guidance from ASE/EM Professor Ufuk Topcu, Quattrociocchi realized his desire to attend graduate school. He plans to research and design autonomous drones in the coming years.

Cyrus Zamanian

Hometown: Carrollton, TX
Degree: B.S., Aerospace Engineering


As an undergraduate student, Cyrus Zamanian interned at Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, a contractor for NASA Johnson Space Center, and was offered a full-time job at the mission control center after graduation. During his internship, Zamanian met his personal hero Gene Kranz, flight director for Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. In the future, Zamanian wants to be a flight director like Kranz and contribute to future space exploration missions, particularly a manned mission to Mars.

Heath Reising

Hometown: Edwardsville, IL 
Degree: Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering

Heath Reising

During his time as a graduate student in aerospace engineering at UT Austin, Heath Reising has been using lasers to measure to the characteristics of non-equilibrium flow in high speed supersonic mixing layers, in order to investigate where non-equilibrium is present and how flow conditions are able to alter it. Co-advised by Noel Clemens and Philip Varghese, Reising’s dissertation research on the subject is especially applicable to making scramjet, or supersonic combustion ramjet engines, more efficient.

“The presence of non-equilibrium can significantly alter the mixing of the fuel and air and also modify reaction kinetics,” Reising said. “These, in turn, alter the efficiency and overall performance of the engine.”

Although graduate school research is thought of as tedious, Reising said he was able to enjoy his time at The University of Texas while familiarizing himself with innovation.

“Everything we do in our lab feels fresh, like we’re trying things no one has tried before,” Reising said. “I really enjoyed the excitement (and sometimes stress) of not knowing how experiments would turn out.”

After receiving his Ph.D., Reising will work at the NASA Postdoctoral Program as a fellow at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, where he’s confident he can thrive amongst researchers thanks to his experience as a graduate student at UT.

“The support you receive from those around you is really top-notch,” Reising said. “Both of my advisors are obviously extremely knowledgeable, but they also are really great mentors at bringing you into the world of scientific research.”