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Research Symposium Features 58 Projects

SOCORRO, N.M. April 4, 2014 – The third annual Student Research Symposium at New Mexico Tech features a wide range of innovative projects, including 32 posters, 13 oral presentations and 13 three-minute talks.

The event is all day in the third floor ballrooms of the Fidel Center on Wednesday, April 9. Jim Braatz of the NRAO’s Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile is the keynote speaker. His talk is titled, “Measuring the Universe” and is open to everyone at 11 a.m. All students are encouraged to attend and learn about the interesting research students are conducting all over campus.

Organizer Dr. Mary Dezember, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, said “I am delighted to see the overwhelming response to this initiative. This event engages New Mexico Tech students in critical areas of science and engineering research.

The event starts at 9 a.m. with three-minute oral presentations in Ballroom C. Oral presentations and poster presentations will be in two concurrent sessions. The first is from 12:20 to 2:20 p.m. The second session is from 2:50 to 4:50 p.m. A complete list of all presentations will be posted online a few days before the event.

The Symposium originally was proposed as a part of Tech’s re-accreditation process and has already achieved much more than our earliest visions and expectations. Students present their research and design projects for a multi-disciplinary audience. The presentations are supposed to be accessible and understandable to the wider Tech audience, not just experts in the respective fields, Dezember said.

“This event is such a great fit for New Mexico Tech,” Dezember said. “Tech students are doing amazing work and this Symposium will shine a spotlight on some of the ambitious and innovative work that is going on in our labs and classrooms.”

Faculty, staff, alumni and graduate students will review each project, providing feedback on presentation skills and quality of work.

Jim Braatz is an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)in Charlottesville, Va. He received his bachelor’s in physics from the Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland. He held postdoctoral positions at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and at NRAO in Green Bank, W.V., before joining the scientific staff at NRAO.

Braatz works primarily with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and with the Green Bank Telescope.  Jim's research is centered on observations of radio emission from active galaxies. He is the principal investigator of the Megamaser Cosmology Project, a program that is making observations of water molecules circling black holes in external galaxies to measure the distances to those galaxies. The measurements give a direct measure of the expansion rate of the universe, and help reveal the mysterious nature of dark energy.

All who attend the event will be asked to provide anonymous feedback via iClickers for oral presentations and online surveys for poster presentations, regarding whether each presentation – both oral and poster – is understandable and increased the audience’s knowledge. Again, that feedback will only be available to the presenters.

“A goal of this event is to help students improve their communication skills, which is a crucial skill for success in the work place,” Dezember said. “Our twofold goal is to improve communication and foster community.”

Everyone on campus – and community members – are invited to attend.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech