Peer Advising Meet and Greet Coming Soon!

Welcome to the Class of 2021!  We hope you enjoyed orientation this summer and we’re getting ready to welcome you here for classes!  The night before classes begin (on Tuesday, August 29), you’ll be participating in ‘Gone to Texas’ and there are lots of events that lead up to that including ‘Gone to Engineering’ where you’ll get to hear about all of the student groups and projects in our department as well as enjoy a free dinner with all of your fellow engineering students.  Before that fun begins, you’ll have a chance to meet up with your peer advisors in the Aerospace building (WRW) for a meet-and-greet with some cookies to hold you over until dinner! More information will be sent to you by email very soon!

Felix Zhang – Third Year


Track: Space

Summer Plans: I will be in Guatemala at the start of the summer working with Projects for Underserved Communities and when I return I’ll be doing research in the Guidance, Controls, and Navigation Lab!

Organization Involvement: Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Honors Society Vice President; Campus Ministry; Design Build Fly Member; Fencing Team

Favorite Things Outside of Aerospace? I really enjoy playing golf, even though I’m pretty bad right now.

Why I decided on Aerospace! The planets are calling and I must go!

Future Plans? Definitely attend graduate school and then hopefully one day work for NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.

Biggest Piece of Advice to Incoming StudentsBe proactive and don’t get behind on anything!


Samid Ahmed – 3rd Year


Track: Undecided

Summer Plans: I’ll be taking a few classes back in Houston and also be working  a summer job.

Organization Involvement: American Helicopter Society Vice President; Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Honor Society Historian; Design Build Fly member; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Member; University’s Leadership Network Scholar

Best Advice to incoming students? Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, especially if you are struggling with a class, you’ll meet some awesome people and make friends. Don’t hesitate to go to office hours and talk to your professor. Above all, put yourself out there because that’s how you will find your true passion!

Favorite Things to do Outside of Aerospace? Some of my favorite things do outside of Aerospace is reading and playing video games. I love reading Science Fiction, especially books that have interesting spacecraft and futuristic technologies. I am trying to read all of the new Star Wars books and I’m waiting for George R. R. Martin to write faster because I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones). I’ve only watched one season of the show so can talk GoT as long as you don’t spoil stuff from this season for me.

Why I decided on Aerospace! I choose aerospace because when I was young and I watched the Star Wars, I fell in love with the X-Wing. From there my interest in aircraft and spacecraft grew. This coupled with my curiosity about how technology functioned made aerospace the natural choice for my major.

Future Plans? Working in the Aerospace industry. Once I figure out if I want to go atmospheric or space, I might have a better idea of what exactly I want to do.

Nicole Vieger – Third Year




Summer PlansInternship at Aerosciences Inc.

Organization Involvement: Prospective Student Coordinator; Women in Aerospace Leadership and Development President, Past Historian; Member of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Best piece of advice to incoming studentsEveryone may seem like they know what they’re doing, but know they’re all as scared and confused as you. Don’t feel like you need to be 100% put together from the start.

Future Plans? I hope to graduate with my bachelor degree and start working in industry somewhere (JPL would be the dream).

Favorite Things Outside of AerospaceI love to play intramurals (I’ve played on flag football, ultimate frisbee, and several soccer teams). It’s all about trying to get that Championship shirt.


Sofia Catalan – Third Year



Track: Space

Summer PlansI’m going to be taking a few online classes this summer, along with working on some projects for Longhorn Rocketry Association.

Organization InvolvementLonghorn Rocketry Association – Corporate Liaison; Women In Aerospace Leadership and Development; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Skywalkers FIG Mentor; Spatial Visualization Teaching Assistant; Dr. Jones Orbital Mechanics Research Assistant

Favorite Aerospace Class and WhyMy favorite class so far is Spacecraft Dynamics. I have been looking forward to taking Space D since my first semester here. I’ve learned so much about orbital mechanics and satellites, how we see their movement from the ground, and how to apply all that into programming and simulations. It is a really fun class and every space nerd would love it too.

Best piece of advice to incoming studentsDon’t be afraid to ask for help because so many people are willing to help you out with just about anything when you’re here in UT. I’d also encourage each and every student to try out new things. College is a time for exploring who you are as an individual, so go out and learn something new about yourself everyday.

Future PlansWhen they tell you that “what starts here changes the world,” they’re not kidding. Being a student here gives you all the tools to do just that. For my future plans and life goals, living up to the dream of changing the world through working for the space industry is definitely on top of the list. That and sending something to Mars would be really cool too.

Why AerospaceSpace is the final frontier, and we need to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can reach. Looking up in the sky at night makes you wonder what’s all out there, and I chose Aerospace because I hope to someday work in the industry that is only limited by our imagination.

Amanda Arena – 3rd Year


Track: Space

Summer Plans: I will be working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA.

Organizations: Women in Aerospace Leadership and Development (WIALD) Member; Sigma Gamma Tau  Aerospace Honors Society Activities Chair; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Member

Best Piece of Advice for Incoming Students: I have two: One, don’t be afraid to try new things and put yourself out there. Two, buy a good pair of waterproof rain boots! Because nothing is worse than wet socks/feet on a rainy day of classes.

Why I Decided on Aerospace: No offense to anyone, but I think it’s by far the coolest engineering! Why build a bridge when you can build a rocket that puts people on Mars?!

Favorite Class: Spacecraft Dynamics — because it was just so cool! Plus, it embodied everything I thought Aerospace Engineering would be.

Future Plans: Working for NASA – I want to train astronauts!

Viet Mai – 4th Year



Track: Atmospheric

Summer Plans: I’ll be continuing my co-op at L3 in Greenville, TX. I also plan on going to Seattle and Atlanta as vacation!

Organization Involvement: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics member; Past Design-Build-Fly Structures Lead

Favorite Things to Do Outside of Aerospace: IM Soccer. I have been looking to get on the champions that in Gregory gym as IM champs since I was a freshman! Barton springs; ACL; Blues on the Green; UT Football; Chuy’s; Trudy’s; Kerbey Lane;….. I like food. And I love that Austin is great for that and more!

Why I decided on Aerospace: As a kid, my dad would take me to airshows and my passion for planes only took off from there!

Favorite Aerospace Class and Why? Satellite Navigation with Dr. Humphreys. It was highly demanding and, in the end, highly rewarding in terms of the amount of technical knowledge you learn about how GPS works at its most fundamental state. It helps immensely that Dr. Humphreys cares greatly about his students and is readily available to help those who put in the effort.

Amy Ekiriwang – 3rd Year



Track: Undecided! I’m still waiting to take all the introduction classes to the two tracks before I make that decision.

Summer Plans: I’ll be working at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth with the F-35 program. I’m also taking a few summer classes and intend to eat as much ice cream as possible.

Organization Involvement: Design-Build-Fly Team Lead, past Chief Engineer

Favorite Aerospace Classes and Why? Low Speed Aerodynamics and Structural Analysis! They were both challenging classes but it was really cool seeing things I’ve learned in other classes come together and become applicable. It was nice to go beyond my text books and see what I could possibly be doing in my career.

Best Piece of Advice to Incoming Students: College is what you make of it! Be proactive, get involved, make a great experience for yourself. Also the men and women’s bathrooms in the basement of WRW are switched from all the other floors so check the signs before you go in.



Jonathan Markel – Second Year


Track: Atmospheric

Summer Plans: Take a few summer courses, work a little bit, sleep 24/7, rule the world, the usual

Organization Involvement: Design Build Fly: Propulsions Co-Lead; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Secretary; University Democrats Member

Favorite Things Outside of Aerospace: There are things to do outside of Aerospace?!? I enjoy seeing concerts and finding new music, it’s pretty easy with the vibrant Austin music scene to take a night off from studying and walk to a good show somewhere downtown for a few bucks. I read a lot of fiction and other non- aerospace subjects. I’ve been reading all the classic books that I was supposed to read in high school, and that’s been a lot of fun.On any given weekend you can probably find me at Bennu Coffee or Strange Brew.

Favorite Class: Well, I haven’t taken any real ASE courses yet except for Intro to Aerospace Engineering. I guess I would say my favorite course I’ve taken so far would be Differential Equations, because it’s essentially solving puzzles with a hint of mathematical theory.

Why Aerospace: It’s cool, it’s like all the other engineering majors put together. Think mechanical engineering, except everything you make has to be super optimized and light.

Future Plans: Graduate college. Work in the aerospace industry for a while. Invest heavily in drones. Become rich. Go bald. Grow a great beard to compensate. Retire somewhere away from Texas. Get bored. Sell everything but a few clothes and one pair of shoes, then buy a van and live out of it while I travel the country until it breaks down. Still working on the details.

Caroline Bik – Second Year


Track: Atmospheric

Summer Plans: I’ll be working in Georgia and Rhode Island as a sailing instructor.

Organization Involvement: Design Build Fly: Structures Lead; First Year Interest Group Mentor; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Member; Society of Women Engineers Member; Women in Engineering Program Member

Favorite Things Outside of Aerospace: Sailing for sure!

Favorite UT Memory: DBF trip to Wichita! It was awesome getting to see all the hard work we put in throughout the year finally come together. We had our ups and downs but we pushed through and ended up performing very well! I can’t wait to go to Tucson this year!

Best Piece of Advice for Incoming Students: Plan ahead. Stay on top of all your classes, but also take the time to hang out with friends and go do fun stuff in Austin and on campus.

Future Plans: Structural Analysis and certification of yachts at the moment, but I’m open to almost anything Aerospace related!