Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Winter/Spring 2002

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Table of Contents:

CC Transfer scholars have focus and drive

Lisa Wang

Community College Transfer Scholar Jessica Barkas graduated with a bachelor's degree in zoology in Spring 2000. Her scholarship gave her priority placement in summer research programs.

Natalia Ospina says her 18 months away from school gave her a clearer direction on what she wanted from her education.

"I needed it," says the former Running Start student and Seattle Central Community College graduate. "I was more focused when I went back to school and more motivated."

Today Natalia, who worked her way through SCCC, is attending the University of Washington as a zoology and bio-anthropology major. A Washington NASA Space Grant Community College Transfer Scholarship allows the college junior to concentrate on her studies.

Transfer scholarships are awarded each year to promising community college students planning to attend the UW and continue their studies in engineering, math or science.

Space Grant scholarships are based on academic achievement, personal essays, recommendations and future academic promise. The awards are for full or partial tuition. Recipients may apply for renewal for up to two years, depending on availability of funding and providing that they maintain program requirements for their majors and a satisfactory GPA.

Community college transfer students have fewer scholarship opportunities than incoming freshmen. Many have lived on their own, but do not qualify for financial aid programs. Students say the Space Grant scholarships often make a difference in whether they have to work while going to school.

The benefits of the scholarships extend beyond financial support. Through the Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program, transfer students can enjoy experiences that they might not otherwise have as new students on campus.

"Community college transfer students tend to do very well at the UW, but often they are not in a position to take advantage of research opportunities as juniors since they have not yet made contacts with faculty," says Space Grant Director Janice DeCosmo.

"I am always very impressed with our transfer scholars that take advantage of the Space Grant summer research program. They tend to bring maturity and focus to their projects and often surprise their faculty mentors with their abilities."

UW graduate Jessica Barkas credits the scholarship program with providing her first taste of hands-on research. "It was a good starting point for me," she says.

Barkas now works as a research scientist at UW's Immunology Department. This spring, she will complete her master's degree in marine biology from Western Washington University. She is currently applying to law school and hopes to eventually use her science background in the area of public policy.

To be eligible for the scholarships, applicants must be Washington residents and U.S. citizens planning to major in a science, mathematics or engineering discipline at the University of Washington. The Washington NASA Space Grant program values diversity and strongly encourages women and minorities to apply.

Applications are due March 29, 2002. A complete application package is available at the Space Grant Web site.

Popular summer volcano workshop for teachers returns

Planetary Volcanism, the popular summer workshop for middle and high school teachers, returns July 6-13. Each summer, Space Grant and the Lunar Planetary Institute bring together top scientists and educators to explore the volcanic regions of Washington and Oregon, and learn how these physical processes relate to the latest discoveries from NASA missions to the Moon, Venus, Mars and Io.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to use their new knowledge to develop instructional plans for their classroom or educational setting using NASA and other educational resources. Workshops and activities will target the relevant Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and/or the National Science Education standards.

For more information and applications, contact the Space Grant office or click here.

SG Scholars Achievements

UW senior Lee Zeman and junior Robyn Greaby have been accepted into the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Program. The two Space Grant scholars are part of a team building a robot that can orient itself and navigate in free fall. They plan to test it the week of April 18 during a NASA microgravity flight.

A second UW team will take part in microgravity flights the week of July 18, developing a computer controlled milling machine to fabricate parts in just minutes, with virtually no human assistance.

Sara Su

Sara Su

Sara Su, a computer engineering major and UW senior, was selected female runner-up for the Computing Research Association's 2001 Outstanding Undergraduate Award. The award recognizes undergraduates who show outstanding research potential in their field.

Sara has contributed to three quite different computing fields. During a summer internship at Cray, Inc., she developed software modules for the Tera multithreaded architecture. Later, as part of a tutored video instruction project to support distance education, she developed tools to automate the production of course.

Last summer she developed techniques for artistic rendering and handwriting synthesis during an internship at Microsoft Research in China. She also co-authored two papers describing her results.

Sara is an officer of the ACM student chapter at Washington, active in departmental outreach efforts, and a former officer of the Washington chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, the EECS honor society.

Ceramic engineering major and senior Sheeny Lan is one of four UW finalists nominated for the 2002 Goldwater Scholarships. The national awards will be made in the spring. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Program encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

Misty Bentz, a UW senior, recently published papers in the Astronomical Journal and UW's McNair Scholars Journal. Bentz, an astronomy and physics major, received last year's Baer Prize for Undergraduate Excellence in Astronomy.

Artrain USA brings out-of-this-world collection to Washington

NASA art

Robert McCall, First on the Moon, NASA Art Program (color lithograph on paper).

Artrain USA, a unique art museum on rails, will begin its tour of Washington communities in late May.

The current exhibit, "Artistry of Space: The NASA Art Program," consists of work by more than 50 American artists, including Peter Max, Robert McCall, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and James Wyeth.

The exhibit is a rich visual record of space exploration that captures the excitement and energy of the NASA Space Program. Housed in three gallery cars, the exhibition chronicles almost four decades of the agency's history.

Curator Susan Lawson-Bell says one of the biggest challenges was choosing which of NASA's 3,000 pieces of art to display.

"It was difficult to prune these down to the final 78 that are now on the train," she says. "I kept wishing for one more train car..."

In the end, Lawson-Bell identified three major themes — American lunar missions, the Space Shuttle, and deep-space exploration.

Educational packets are available to teachers through the Artrain Web site and events are being planned in conjunction with the visits.

The Artrain starts its tour of Washington with a stop in Deer Park May 25-29. The train will be in Washram June 13-16; Walla Walla June 20 -23; Sultan July 11-14; and Blaine July 18-21. For those living close to the Oregon border, the Artrain will be in Hillsboro June 29-July 2.

The tour is sponsored by DaimlerChrysler and American railroads have provided the transportation. For more information, go to www.ArtrainUSA.org.


Local robotics teams test their mettle

Local robotics teams will show off their creativity and skill during the FIRST regional competition March 28-30 on the University of Washington campus.

The purpose of FIRST (For Recognition and Inspiration in Science and Technology) is to allow high school students to work with engineering mentors, both professionals and older students.

Teams must solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard kit of parts and a common set of rules. Thirty-three robotics teams including one from Porto Alegre, Brazil will be competing at the Seattle event for a chance to go to the national championship in Orlando, Fla.

For more information, visit the regional FIRST program page.

A third workshop will give teachers step-by-step guidance in how to apply for a Space Grant mini-grant.

Celebrate Sun-Earth Day, March 20

Sun-Earth Day offers a time to appreciate the nature of our sun and the important effects that it has upon the earth.

NASA is scheduling many special events for that day. In anticipation of the festivities, the Educator Resource Center is offering a special Saturday workshop for Washington teachers on Feb. 16.

ERC Director Dr. Julie Lutz will cover what the sun is and how it works, how humans have regarded the sun in various cultures and the many effects the sun has on our planet (aurora, communications disruptions, etc.).

Participants will receive activity packets, posters, videos and CDs. To register for the workshop, e-mail nasa@u.washington.edu

For more information on Sun-Earth Day events, visit http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/sunearthday/

Space Place en Espanol

A new Spanish-language version of NASA's popular educational Web site, Space Place, is now available. The site serves children ages 8-13 and contains 40 activities. Visit the site at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/espanol.

Free Saturday workshops

March 16 - Planetary Volcanism (for teachers, grades 5-12) UW Earth and Space Sciences Instructor Dr. Tony Irving will present some of the most popular and useful activities from the weeklong volcanism workshop offered each summer. Participants will receive an activity packet and a set of transparencies.

April 13 - Exploring Meteorite Mysteries (for teachers, grades K-12) NASA Aerospace Education Specialist Brian Hawkins will present activities on asteroids, meteors, meteorites, meteor showers and meteor craters. Receive an Exploring Meteorite Mysteries curriculum packet and become certified to borrow meteorite samples from NASA.

Clock hours available. Workshops held from 1-4 p.m. in the Space Grant office, 401 Johnson Hall on the UW campus. Register by phone or e-mail nasa@u.washington.edu.