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8 Students Land NASA Awards

8 Techies Land Space Grant Consortium Scholarships

SOCORRO, N.M.  – Eight New Mexico Tech students have been awarded fellowships from the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium for the 2017 calendar year.

The N.M. Space Grant Consortium is funded by NASA and based at New Mexico State University. Undergraduate award winners get $5,000 and graduate students get $10,000. These competitive awards are based on an application process and recommendation letters. In recent years, the Space Grant Consortium has awarded between two and eight awards to NMT students each year.

This year’s winners:

•          Jared Canright, a senior double-majoring in physics and electrical engineering, was awarded $5,000 for his research titled “Interactive Virtual-Reality Visualization of Multidimensional Datasets: Applications to Lightning.” Working with Dr. Richard Sonnenfeld, Canright is developing a 3-D visualization application that can be adapted to existing virtual reality systems. He started the project last summer and expects to complete an interface in early 2017. His finished code initially will be tested by translating data from NMT’s Lightning Mapping Array, then Canright said he hopes to expand its scope to other astrophysical phenomena. He also sees practical applicationsin the classroom for visualization of many different concepts.

•          David Hunter, a master’s student in mechanical engineering, was awarded $10,000 for his research titled “Ultrasonic Electro-Mechanical Impedance Structural Health Monitoring.” Working with Dr. Andrei Zagrai, Hunter is programming and building a device to monitor spacecraft. He expects to conduct a test launch during the fall 2017 semester.

•          Richard Nelson, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, was awarded $10,000 for his research titled “Investigation of Film Initiation of Aerosol Deposition Technique Through Application of Continuum Mechanics.”

•          Elias Pulliam, a master’s student in mechanical engineering with a specialization in solid mechanics, was awarded $10,000 for his research titled “Autonomous Detection of Delamination in Fiber Reinforced Polymers Using Multifunctional Mechanoluminescent Composites.” Working with Dr. Donghyeon Ryu of NMT, Pulliam is developing a sensor system capable of straing-sensing while operating under self-power. Once a prototype is tested at NMT, he will work with Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories for further testing.

•          Jonathan Dooley, a Ph.D. student in physics, was awarded $10,000 for his research titled “Optimizing Low Cost Capacitive Sensors for Turbulent Weather Conditions.”

•          Megan Hein, a Ph.D. student in the Physics Department, was awarded $10,000 for her research titled “Exploring the Physics of Exoplanet Atmosphere Spectra with NESSI.”

•          Sebastian Hendrickx-Rodriguez, a junior in the Physics Department, was awarded $5,000 for his research titled “Modeling of Asteroid Shapes Using Light Curves.” This is the second year that Hendricks-Rodriguez has won the Space Grant Consortium award. Working with advisor Dr. Dan Klinglesmith, Sebastian is creating 3-D models of asteroids. After characterizing seven during the first year, he has selected 10 promising asteroids for year two. He wrote that his research will provide a direct contribution to NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Near Earth Object Observation program.

•          Mark McCoy, a Ph.D. student in the Physics Department, was awarded $10,000 for his research titled “Physical and Chemical Conditions in Centaurus A.” McCoy is analyzing data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, or ALMA, in Chile. He is looking at the supermassive black hole at the center of Centaurus A, our nearest galaxy. He is looking for changes in the molecular composition of gas as it falls into the black hole.

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is a member of the Congressionally funded National Space Grant College Scholarship and Fellowship Program which is administered by NASA. NMSGC fellowships and scholarships are competitively awarded based on application information, faculty recommendation, GPA, the research project, and NASA’s Mission.  New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is located at New Mexico State University.

– NMT –