photo of Valori Leinmiller with family

Congratulations to former student Valori Booth Leinmiller (BS ASE 2004) who was recently honored as a 2009 Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate at The University of Texas at Austin fall commencement ceremonies.

The Cockrell School’s Engineering Advisory Board makes the annual selections, which are based on outstanding professional records, public service, support of education, and other significant achievements. The honored group included four Distinguished Engineering Graduates, the highest honor the Cockrell School of Engineering awards, and two Outstanding Young Engineering Graduates, considered the rising stars among alumni under age 40.

While growing up near El Dorado, Kansas, Valori Leinmiller dreamed that she would one day work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The valedictorian of Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, Valori came to The University of Texas at Austin for her bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering. While at the university, Valori was the president of Kappa Theta Epsilon, the co-op honor society, and an officer in Sigma Gamma Tau, the aerospace engineering honor society. As well, Valori was a student caller for the Friends of Alec Annual Fund and the recipient of more than nine undergraduate scholarships. She later earned a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Southern California.

Valori first met her goal of working at Johnson Space Center while an engineering cooperative education student employed by Boeing, NASA’s prime contractor for the International Space Station. She alternated working semesters at NASA in Houston with semesters in Austin earning her bachelor’s degree. She began working full-time with NASA in 2005, and she currently works in the Mission Operations Directorate on the Environmental Control and Life Support System of the International Space Station, where she trains astronauts and flight controllers. She is the lead life support trainer for astronauts and cosmonauts prepar¬ing for the long-duration International Space Station Expeditions 19, 20, 25 and 26. She was also the lead life support trainer for the STS-120/ISS-10A Shuttle flight that brought the Node 2 Harmony module to the International Space Station. In addition, Valori is the lead trainer for the highly-publicized regenera¬tive life support system on the space station that includes urine processing, water processing and oxygen generation.

Valori and her husband, Aaron, are expecting their first child in May.