Thursday, August 4, 2022

The NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) has selected six University of Iowa Physics and Astronomy students as undergraduate research fellows. They will be awarded $5,000 scholarships to support research projects in coordination with a faculty mentor.

UI students receiving ISGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarships and a description of their research projects:

  • Susanne Byrd is working with Dr. Zachary Girazian on a research project using Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) data to study the magnetic fields induced by solar wind interaction in the Martian ionosphere.
  • Walter (Will) Golay is working this summer at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with the BICEP/Keck Array Collaboration, which maintains a set of radio telescopes at the South Pole. The primary goal is to investigate degree-scale polarization patterns in the cosmic microwave background. He plans to develop an algorithm for recovering a differential beam from images of a calibration source with maximum precision. His faculty mentor is Dr. Robert Mutel.
  • Jason Homan is part of Dr. David Miles’ MAGIC team, working on the Constellation Ready Magnetometer project, which is developing high-resolution, miniature magnetometers used on CubeSats.
  • Jeff Leiberton is part of Dr. Casey DeRoo’s research group that studies the fabrication and implementation of thin, adjustable X-ray mirrors. These mirrors are micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) that utilize an array of addressable cells to correct distortions introduced in spaceflight and production. Leiberton’s research focuses primarily on the development and optimization of the algorithms used to correct mirror distortions.
  • Christian O’Brien is studying the effect stellar mergers have on the evolution of binary systems through the study of stellar merger remnants. He is analyzing data to build spectra of these stars in the near-Infrared for scientific analysis.
  • Jonathon Percy is working with Dr. Miles on improving techniques to develop high-fidelity instruments needed to make magnetic field measurements. He works with another student to determine the magnetic properties of various parts before being added to instrumentation that measures magnetic fields.

The ISGC scholarships are awarded to outstanding undergraduate students at Des Moines Area Community College, Drake University, Iowa State University, Loras College, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines that support NASA’s mission.

ISGC funding is competitively awarded based on complete application information including academic qualifications, research project, NASA alignment, and a faculty letter of recommendation. Awardees will be required to present their research as a poster presentation at the ISGC Student Research Symposium tentatively planned for April 3, 2023.