On Saturday, December 6, approximately 47 University of Texas at Austin ASE/EM students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas at the Cockrell School of Engineering’s 2014 Fall Commencement Ceremony. This semester, the department proudly granted 38 B.S., 6 M.S. and 3 Ph.D. degrees. The Friday afternoon before commencement, we honored our new graduates and their families with a reception in the halls of WRW. While we are not able to feature every graduating student this fall, we share two exceptional stories below. We can’t wait to see how all of these engineering leaders of tomorrow set out to change the world.

Brian O’Connor, BS ASE 2014

Brian O'Connor

Brian O’Connor graduated with a B.S. in aerospace engineering, where he completed an undergraduate thesis, and a B.A. in Plan II from the College of Liberal Arts. He also contributed to CubeSat projects in the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory, doing optical data analysis and structural modeling.

In the summer of 2103, O’Connor held an internship at the Air Force Research Laboratory, working on multiple spacecraft deployable structures projects. Additionally, he worked as an intern at Bain & Company in the summer of 2014, advising an industrial materials supplier on business unit strategy. O’Connor was also very involved in a wide variety of student organizations during his student career, including LUNAR Council, Sigma Gamma Tau and the Longhorn Singers.

“The best part of my college experience has been UT's diversity of communities and opportunities, in which I've been able to share and learn,” said O’Connor. “My knowledge and thinking have been challenged not only through my curriculum but also through the people I've come to know, and I'm very grateful for how they have helped me change and develop over the past four years.”

After graduation, O’Connor plans to spend the first half of 2015 living in Buenos Aires, Argentina before returning full-time to Bain & Company.

Henri Kjellberg, Ph.D. ASE 2014

Henri Kjellberg

Henri Kjellberg completed his B.S. and M.S. in aerospace engineering in the ASE/EM department and graduated this fall with a Ph.D., also in aerospace engineering. With Dr. Lightsey as his advisor throughout his graduate career, Kjellberg earned a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship in 2008 to work exclusively on tiny satellites called "CubeSats" and funded his Ph.D. through the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. His research was mostly focused on developing small satellites and technologies related to their operation.

“I have enjoyed watching six satellites go through the space mission life cycles in my time working at the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory,” said Kjellberg.

Additionally, he earned various smaller fellowships, awards, and grants such as the Thrust 2000 and the Texas Space Grant Consortium scholarship as a student. It was always important that he placed a large importance to apply to any fellowship or scholarship, even if the likelihood of being awarded any given source of funding was small, said Kjellberg.

“I advocate strongly that all graduate students apply for any source of funding for which they are eligible,” said Kjellberg. “I even created a database in our lab of all the successful fellowship essays that any of our fellow students have submitted.”

Kjellberg worked on numerous proposals for a large number of missions, and his faculty advisor was always encouraging when it came to the pursuit of new work for the TSL.

“Learning from him the process that is required to pursue a proposal correctly is probably the most important lesson I have received,” said Kjellberg. “Wherever I end up, my goal will be to bring in new work. I want to propose new tasks and see them accomplished.”