Published: May 10, 2018

2018 graduates toss their caps.

Students toss their caps following the Spring 2018 university-wide commencement ceremony at Folsom Field.

On a perfect, sunny Colorado day, members of the Class of 2018 are celebrating their pending graduation. The Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences held its 2018 recognition ceremony Friday, May 10th under a canopy on the Business Field adjacent to the Engineering Center.

Christine Reilly

Christine Reilly

In addition to the degree candidates, numerous students received special recognitions, including Christine Reilly, who addressed the gathering as the 2018 Outstanding Senior. Christine was the systems engineer for the DustBUSTER senior design team.

She took a leadership role writing system level requirements, conducting trade studies for system design decisions, coordinating the integration of the autonomous repositioning system and the dust instrument, and through testing and validation of the project. Christine also previously earned the prestigious Brooke Owens fellowship, was a 2017 Astronaut Scholar, and a 2017 Aviation Week and Space Technology 20 Twenties recipient.  

Joseph Hughes and Emily Matula

Joseph Hughes and Emily Matula

Emily Matula and Joseph Hughes were recognized as recipients of the John A. Vise Graduate Student Excellence Award. The award was established in 1999 by Mildred Vise. It honors the memory of her son, John A. Vise, a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. The award, which consists of a certificate and a $3,000 fellowship, is presented annually to two PhD students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and research, and who have contributed community service.


Smead Aerospace Alumna Keynote Address: Jen Uchida (ASEN BS/MS '05)

What do air sickness and long-term career success have in common? Endurance. That was the message from Smead Aerospace alumna, Jen Uchida of Insitu, Inc., who recounted the daunting test flights she endured as an aeronautical engineer and the kudos from Air Force generals for her persistence and tenacity. Fortunately there were no viral up-chuck moments, but there are some great lessons in her speech: 


Team Awards

The 2018 Senior Design team and individual award winners were announced as well:

  • Best Systems Engineering Process - Team LLAMAS (Modular fault management on a weather satellite mockup)
    • Members: Dalton Anderson, Daniel Greer, Benjamin Hutchinson, Kent Lee, Andrew Levandoski, Andrew Mezich, Samuel O’Donnell, Zachary Reynolds, Kristyn Sample, Corwin Sheahan, Pol Sieira, Zachary Toelkes
    • Sponsor:  Lockheed Martin, Dr. Jim Chapel
    • Advisor:  Dr. Jelliffe Jackson
  • Best Verification and Validation - Team RAVEN (Integrated robotic rover and air vehicle system for navigation in GPS-denied environments)
    • Members: Rolf Andrada, Ryan Blay, Brendan Boyd, Cody Charland, Rishab Gangopadhyay, Torfinn Johnsrud, Nathan Levigne, Ian Loefgren, Nikolas Setiawan, Alexander Swindell, Ryan Wall
    • Sponsor:  Dr. Nisar Ahmed (CU AES)
    • Advisor:  Dr. Torin Clark
  • Best Technical Communication - Team DustBUSTER (Cubesat-sized lander for measuring asteroid surface dust properties)
    • Members: Ryan Aronson, Gabriel Castillo, Robert Hakulin, Leina Hutchinson, Jeff Jenkins, Charles Labonde, Reider Larsen, Christine Reilly, Alex St. Claire, Rachel Tyler, Edward Zuzula
    • Sponsor:  Dr. Zoltan Sternovsky, Dr. Xu Wang (CU LASP/AES)
    • Advisor: Dr. Torin Clark
  • Best Engineering Understanding - Team ACES (Jet engine cold start at -50F)
    • Members:  Alex Bertman, Jacob Harrell, Tristan Isaacs, Alexander Johnson, Matthew McKernan, Thomas Mitchell, Nicholas Moore, James Nguyen, Matthew Robak, Lucas Sorensen, Nicholas Taylor
    • Sponsor:  Air Force Research Laboratory, Lt. Carol Bryant
    • Advisor: Dr. Donna Gerren

Individual Awards

  • Outstanding Leadership - Project Management: Glenda Alvarenga and Dawson Stokley
  • Outstanding Leadership - Systems Engineering: Jannine Vela
  • Outstanding Leadership - Manufacturing: Rachel Tyler and Daniel Greer    
  • Outstanding Leadership - Mechanical/Optical/Aero/Thermal: Nicholas Thurmes
  • Outstanding Leadership - Electrical: Reidar Larsen
  • Outstanding Leadership - Software: Dylan Reed and Matthew Funk    
  • Outstanding Leadership - Testing: Cody Charland    
  • Outstanding Leadership - Modeling and Simulation: Rishab Gangopadhyay and Dalton Anderson



Did you take a picture at the recognition ceremony photobooth? You can view and download your picture(s) here.



Smead Aero Recognition Ceremony Venue

Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences 2018 Recognition Ceremony Venue on the Business Field