Commencement Day Class of 2020 Interactive Events

University of Southern California Virtual Conferring of Degrees

Friday May 15, 9:00am PST

Visit the USC 2020 Commencement Site for further information.

USC Viterbi School of Engineering Class of 2020 Online Celebration

Friday May 15, 10:00am PST

Visit the USC Viterbi Celebration Site for more information.

Zoom Link:

Department of Astronautical Engineering Class of 2020 Online Celebration

Friday May 15, 11:00am PST

If you missed the live online celebration, you can watch it here


For more information on Class of 2020 Celebrations, see the following pages:

Class of 2020 Celebration Toolkit

Let the festivities begin, with these super fun backdrops, stickers, gifs and more! Download, post and fight on!

USC Viterbi Class of 2020 Video Messages

We want to celebrate you, the Class of 2020!

Whether you are graduating or someone you know is, send us video message celebrating yourself, your graduating friend, or the whole class. (Max file size: 100 MB)

Don’t want to fill out the form? Use #ViterbiGrad along with either #USCGrad or #2020Trojan on social. We’ll use selected submissions on our wall on May 15th. Thank you.

Department of Astronautical Engineering Student Awards

Ad Astra Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement

Luke St Regis

Astronautics Faculty Award for Student Achievement

Nick Borquez

Jenny Wang T.A. Award

Jeffrey Asher

Best R.A. Award

Daniel Depew

Rocket Scientists of the Year

Ryan Horton

Matthew Tinkey

Ulubilge Ulusoy

Class of 2020 Profiles

Name: Ryan Horton

Major: Astronautical Engineering

Lessons from Childhood: What I remember most about growing up is being around my family when they were running their clothing businesses. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in their offices and I watched my mom and aunts really taking the reins when it came to work and giving the businesses their all. I've never seen them work for someone else (though they had typical 9 to 5's before I was around) and I think that's really stuck with me over the years when it comes to taking charge of projects I'm involved with, giving 110% to everything I'm involved in and striving to be my own boss (or as much as I'm able to do so while working under someone).

Dream career: My "dream career" has always been shifting. In high school I wanted to go into a career involving firearms/gunsmithing (i.e. working for Ruger, Colt, Knight's Armament, and companies of the like). During/near the end of college my dream career shifted towards a career in defense (I interned at Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense and took a major liking to working with their products). Once I moved back to Los Angeles, I struggled to find a job specifically in defense and ended up in a completely different field (metrology services). I ended up leaving that position after a year and started a company that dealt in defense contracts. Eventually, I decided to go back to school and study astronautical engineering, because the space industry is currently seeing massive growth and has some extremely important/interesting/advanced projects in progress. I wanted to be a part of this expansion and work in a field that is going to have major impacts for humans, especially with regards to space exploration since space is the next frontier.

Favorite USC memory: My favorite USC memory was going out to the Mojave Desert in September 2019 to fire the Liquid Propulsion Laboratory’s (USC LPL) Balerion engine. As you might’ve seen, the engine did not perform as expected and exploded on the test pad. Regardless of the failure, the event was still quite a spectacle to witness. Instead of viewing this as a failure, we saw it as another learning opportunity. For me, it also emphasized the magnitude of the forces we're working with; the engine may look small in size, but the power it generates is something to behold.

What made you want to become an engineer/ first engineering memory: My first interest in becoming an engineer came from being gifted a paintball marker as a kid (maybe 10 years old). At the time, paintballing was a very popular sport among kids my age and I quickly became interested in the mechanics behind the pneumatic actuation and such.

Vision for the future: I want to find a position that allows me to gain experience in the areas I've mentioned. From there, hopefully I can move into human spaceflight and take part in the continuing exploration of our solar system and beyond. I'm not entirely sure what the future holds beyond sending humans back to the moon and Mars, but I'm excited at the prospect of being a part of those efforts and at the idea that one day we'll reach further into space than anyone who has come before.

Name: Ulubilge Ulusoy

Major: Astronautical Engineering

Growing Up: I grew up in Adana (hometown) and Istanbul, Turkey. I only spent six years of my life in Adana, but I'm in love with my hometown. I remember playing basketball and reading sci-fi books, both formative parts of my childhood.

Dream career: Working on developing human spaceflight missions, especially lunar missions.

Plans post-graduation: Pursuing a Ph.D in the USC Viterbi Department of Astronautical Engineering!

Favorite USC memory: My favorite USC memory is actually not in USC,  but in the Mojave Desert, where we ignited  USC LPL's Balerion Engine. That is the first time that I saw a rocket engine fire in person, which I;ve always wanted to see.

What made you want to become an engineer/ first engineering memory:
 When I was in high school,  I was reading about human spaceflight in both fiction and in articles. My first engineering memory is from when I visited my father's workplace. He is a mechanical engineer and I remember how he showed me the parts they manufactured with their technical drawings.

Why USC Viterbi? Because USC Viterbi's ASTE department is unique in terms of combining academic and industry level education on astronautical engineering. Most of our professors work in or partner with the space industry. That's why the USC Viterbi ASTE Department was my one and only choice for my master’s and Ph.D. programs.

Vision for the future:  My main vision for the future is to enable interstellar travel for humans, but this is not an easy task and most probably cannot be done within my lifetime. However, this does not mean that I cannot help the space industry to achieve a certain stage in the time I have. Utilizing the Moon and spreading through the solar system with space stations might be the initial steps and I would like to take a part in these activities.