As another semester draws to a close, a new batch of aerospace engineering students will leave the Forty Acres to embark on their new careers. We wish them all the best on their journey and look forward to watching them succeed in their endeavors. Here we feature just a few of these students who have been actively involved in their Longhorn education. Congratulations, class of 2016!

Zachery Bassett

Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Degree: B.S. Aerospace Engineering


Since his 2nd year of college, Bassett interned for three summers at the NASA Langley Research Center where he helped develop a concept for a manned mission to Venus, was the team lead of a multidisciplinary team with the task to design, build and fly a vertical take-off and landing vehicle, and ran dynamic aeroelastic simulations. He also published three AIAA conference papers and has two patents pending. At the ASE/EM department, he was the president and vice president of the UT Austin student chapter of AIAA, and was a member of the Design/Build/Fly (DBF) team, where he got his “first glimpse into the aircraft design process and project management.” Bassett is considering graduate school and has an offer to return as an intern at NASA Langley. 

Claire Burditt

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Degree: B.S. Aerospace Engineering
Certificate: Business Foundations Program


It wasn’t until Burditt found the Women in Aerospace for Leadership and Development (WIALD) student organization that she was reassured she was capable of obtaining her aerospace engineering degree and being successful in the field. She started out as a member and went on to hold the officer position of the historian. During the summer of 2016, Burditt interned as a flight engineering intern in the Space Launch Systems program at Boeing. She also studied abroad in Beijing, China and Sheffield, England. Among her aspirations are continuing her education and acquiring a master’s degree and to “devote my career to space exploration.” Due to her curiosity of outer space, she wants to be “involved in putting the first humans on Mars.”

Jerry Zhang

Hometown: Houston, Texas
Degree: B.S. Aerospace Engineering


As a First-Year Interest Group (FIG) peer mentor, Zhang worked with incoming aerospace students and enjoyed “getting to help them as well as see them develop as engineers.” During his time at UT Austin, he was involved in organizations within the ASE/EM department and also interned at Firefly Space Systems. He was a member of the UT student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), was the public relations chair of the UT chapter of Sigma Gamma Tau (SGT), and was involved with the Longhorn Rocketry Association (LRA). He also had the opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands. After graduating, Zhan plans to continue working in developing new technologies used in space exploration. 

View photos of our graduation reception and commencement in our Flickr album.