Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Winter/Spring 2003

Expanding Frontiers is a publication of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. To join our mailing list, please send us an e-mail with your request.

Table of Contents:

Research opportunities reach undergraduates across the state

Lisa Wang

UW senior Lisa Wang, a chemistry major, spent last summer working with Associate Professor Karen Goldberg on the reductive elimination of carbon from platinum (IV) compounds.

Undergraduates from Space Grant member colleges and universities now have an opportunity to apply for competitive awards to support their research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

The new research scholarships are being funded through a special workforce development grant aimed at helping students prepare for careers in NASA-related fields. Students doing research with faculty in all fields of science and engineering, as well as science education, are eligible.

Since 1993, Space Grant has offered students on the University of Washington campus a chance to participate in research during the summer.

"We're pleased to have awards available to students at all consortium schools," said Space Grant Director Janice DeCosmo. "Participating in research can be a transformative experience for students and help them better define their career goals."

The grants are for $3,000 and may apply to either a full-time summer research project or part-time research done over two academic quarters or semesters. Student researchers should spend a minimum of 10 hours per week on their projects during the academic year and 20-30 hours per week during the summer.

A multi-institutional committee will review the applications, which are available online. Essays will be judged on the nature of the project, the student's previous research activities, and his or her ability to carry out the project given the resources available. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28. Awards will be announced April 1.

Applications can be downloaded from our Undergraduate Research Awards page.

WWU fellow found his future in the stars

Brad Snowder

Self-portrait by Brad Snowder

In 1986, Brad Snowder looked up through a friend's telescope and saw his future. The space science enthusiast had been devastated by the Challenger disaster that January, but in the graceful arc of Halley's Comet he found a new passion — astronomy and physics.

Today, the Space Grant fellow is finishing his master's degree in science education at Western Washington University. "The thing I really want to do is teach introductory college physics and astronomy," Snowder says. "Philosophy of Physics is my dream class."

Snowder, a former president of the Spokane Astronomical Society, produced a public access television show on the topic for seven years.

But his academic career didn't start until he was 36. He was working as a tree trimmer when he decided to go to college, the first in his family to do so. "I was more surprised than anyone that I was pretty good at it," he says.

He began with remedial math at Spokane Falls Community College and graduated as valedictorian. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Western.

Over the years, he lectured at Northwest Indian College, taught WWU's science camp, and designed Web pages. One of his greatest joys was revitalizing Western's planetarium. It was mothballed and in danger of being absorbed into the library when he started there in 1995.

"That year I ran 1,200 people through it and had them all write the school president," he recalls. The planetarium stayed open. Last January, more than 300 people came through it.

A member of the Choctaw nation, he is especially proud of the Native American star lore that he incorporated into the planetarium show.

NWIC students tackle research problems

Student researchers at the Northwest Indian College had a busy summer in the field. The college, chartered by the Lummi Nation, offers a strong program in science and environmental science education.

Sam Bearcub, a member of the Colville tribe, traveled to the University of California, Irvine to study the effects of pesticides on red spotted salamander development.

Lewis Armey of the Tlingit tribe worked on strategies for riparian restoration in the south fork of the Nooksack River near Glacier, Wash. Cheyenne Garcia of the Mojave tribe conducted a salmonid assessment in tertiary tributaries in Olympic National Park.

Space Grant provides funding to support student research at the college. Students frequently cite their research experience as critical in shaping their choice of major and career.

Wherever possible, NWIC encourages areas of research that require the use of remote sensing technology, strengthen students ties to their tribes and produce publishable results.

A farewell to heroes

Students signing sympathy notes

In the wake of the Columbia tragedy, UW students, faculty and staff gathered in the Space Grant offices to send their sympathy to the astronauts' families and friends.

The UW community was especially touched by the loss of astronaut alumnus Michael Anderson, '81. Condolence cards may be sent to Mr. Kent Rominger, Astronaut Office, NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Road 1, Code CB, Houston, TX 77058.

Share the news!

As our Space Grant community grows, we invite our alumni and members to use this newsletter to share with each other. Please e-mail nasa@u.washington.edu and tell us about your awards, events, publications and new programs.

SG Scholars' Achievements

Prof. Taub, David Barbee and Kristen Durance

Prof. Taub, David Barbee and Kristen Durance at Cape Canaveral.

SG scholar Sheeny Lan was awarded the NSF/CSEM Success in Engineering and Math Scholarship. Lan, a senior, is majoring in Materials Science & Engineering.

UW Professor Frieda Taub and her students David Barbee and Kristen Durance took their talents to Cape Canaveral Nov. 5-8 as part of the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage.

The focus of the UW project was to develop and test various closed ecological systems to see if they could sustain a population of aquatic invertebrates for more than 30 days. The project was the result of research undertaken in Fish 499, sponsored in part by Space Grant.

Thanks to partial funding from Space Grant, Jose Jimenez, a West Seattle High School student, moved one step closer to his goal of becoming a research scientist by spending eight weeks in the Juneau Icefield Research Program last summer.

The Juneau Icefield is the fifth largest icefield in the Western Hemisphere. The research program, sponsored by the University of Idaho, is aimed at understanding the total environment and resource potentials of arctic and mountain regions.

JIRP emphasizes geology, climatology, environmental science and other related fields. Program participants stay in the field almost the entire time, traversing 150 miles of the Juneau Icefield from Juneau to Atlin by ski and by foot.

Last August, SG Scholar Marleen Martinez and her mentor Dr. S.R. Federman presented their research findings, "The Abundance of CH+ in the Vicinity of the Pleiades" at the University of Toledo's REU Final Luncheon.

Orthostatic research conducted by University of Puget Sound Professor Tom Wells and three undergraduates will be presented at the Humans in Space conference in May. The students, who were supported by Space Grant, are now in graduate school. Jess Sotelo attends the University of Alaska. Max Gomez is at Yale University and Sara Jarvis attends UW.


Apollo 13's Haise Highlights Space Day
Fred Haise

Astronaut Fred Haise

On May 1, the Museum of Flight will celebrate Space Day with two presentations by keynote speaker Fred Haise, astronaut on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Haise will discuss not only his hair-raising Apollo 13 experiences (which were later dramatized in the movie of the same name) but also a lesser-known 1973 airplane crash in which he narrowly escaped death. His inspiring, uplifting message is likely to have special resonance in the wake of the Columbia tragedy.

Haise will speak at noon and 7 p.m. The noon presentation is free with museum admission. The second talk is completely free of charge, as is 5-9 p.m. admission to the museum, thanks to Wells Fargo. For more information on the Museum's activities, please visit www.museumofflight.org.

Astronaut-educators sought by NASA

NASA is recruiting K-12 educators to join NASAs's Astronaut Corps. After graduation, new educator astronauts will be eligible for a Space Shuttle flight assignment as fully trained mission specialists. The application deadline is April 30, 2003. For information,visit http://edspace.nasa.gov.

New Astro Adventures

Two new versions of Astro Adventures, the Pacific Science Centers's popular teacher's guide for astronomy activities, will come out this spring.

"Astro Adventures II," geared to grade four and up, offers greater alignment with the National Science Education standards and new lessons on the Sun and seasons. Thanks to high demand, there is now "Astro Adventures: Upper Elementary Curriculum." Development of the books was partially funded by Space Grant.

To order, call PSC at 206-448-2627 or go to www.pacsci.org.