"I knew that I wanted to become part of something bigger than myself and choosing the right university was key in acquiring the technical foundation to be successful in life. I am proud to have chosen the University of Oklahoma. OU was clearly the correct choice to launch my career.”
What I’m about to say may change your life. My name is Jesse Berdis. I am a structural engineer and construction manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Kennedy Space Center, Florida. I love my career, and I recently applied to become a member of the next Astronaut class. I am also an ordinary kid from an ordinary town. I grew up in McKinney, Texas, which is just north of Dallas, and attended McKinney North High School (’07). After high school, it was time to choose my next route in life. I knew that I wanted to become part of something bigger than myself and choosing the right university was key in acquiring the technical foundation to be successful in life.
I am proud to have chosen the University of Oklahoma. OU was clearly the correct choice to launch my career. My classes prepared me to be competitive in technical knowledge, extracurricular programs strengthened my leadership skills, study abroad programs provided the opportunity to experience the world, and community service projects reinforced the importance of generosity. The technical societies were an amazing opportunity to apply classwork to hands-on learning while simultaneously creating networks and developing relationships with classmates. I participated in technical societies such as Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams. OU leadership programs helped develop my innovation, integrity, and passion. There are multiple opportunities to grow as a leader with programs like the Deans Leadership Council and Williams Student Leadership Retreat. One vital element to developing cultural cognizance is seeing the world from abroad. OU has multiple opportunities to build cultural awareness and tour the world with programs like studying abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Another key element that OU symbolizes is the importance of community service. Activities like Sooner Engineering Education and Development Center and Big Event reach out to communities in Oklahoma, strengthen relationships, and display the generosity of the OU student body.
I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at OU because I fell in love with the campus, the people, and the environment. The campus is amazing and especially beautiful at night. After classes, I looked forward to going on peaceful jogs around campus during the sunset. I enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities like flag football and outdoor volleyball where I became very close to a group of friends from varied majors. We still have yearly friend reunions and spend Thanksgiving together. They are like family to me.
I am proud to be a part of the University of Oklahoma alumni family. I would not be where I am today without direction and encouragement from OU. The University of Oklahoma was the right choice for me. OU strives for well-rounded and humble students and provides plenty of opportunities to grow as an individual. I fell in love with my university and I hope you do too.
John F. Kennedy Space Center, NASA