Expanding Frontiers Fall 2004/Winter 2005
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:
- Washington SG wins 5-year NASA renewal
- Where are they now? '97 alumna seeks answers to solar mysteries
- Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant formed
- SG supporter remembered as researcher and educator
- NSIP annual contest gets local leadership
- SG community celebrates student acoomplishments
- SCCC awards five Space Grant scholarships
- JPL internships give students a look at life inside NASA
- SG scholarships applications available
- More AstroAdventure lessons
- Space Spot visits popular with businesses and families
- SG Scholars' Achievements
- Space Grant News
Washington SG wins 5-year NASA renewal
Last summer Washington Space Grant Consortium passed its 15-year evaluation with flying colors — and received a five-year extension in funding from NASA.
In the evaluation, the reviewers cited the program's overall excellence and significant achievements, especially in undergraduate research programs. They singled out the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the University of Washington for special praise, ranking it as "among the best such programs in the world."
Dean Ron Irving of the UW College of Arts and Sciences echoed that praise.
"Washington Space Grant has been a wonderful asset for our students," he said. "Their scholarships attract many of the state's strongest science-oriented students. Once here, the students have the opportunity to engage in research with UW faculty members, and they make the most of this opportunity, as I get to see each year at the annual program at which the students exhibit their research results."
Space Grant provides more than 125 scholarships and fellowships a year statewide, and underwrites dozens of undergraduate research opportunities at its member institutions and at NASA Centers annually. It also sponsors public programs and events, and serves as a year-round resource for math and science teachers and informal educators through workshops, newsletters and classroom materials.
The reviewers also praised Washington Space Grant's management practices as outstanding. "Their wise and frugal use of NASA funds should become a model for all other consortia," reviewers wrote.
"Janice DeCosmo deserves great credit for her fostering of this community," Irving said, "and for her dedication to the goals of the program, thanks to which Space Grant has achieved national prominence."
Other aspects singled out as noteworthy were:
- The effort by Consortium programs to reach underrepresented minorities.
- The development of The Space Spot, a traveling mall exhibit geared to families.
- The creation of Access to Space, an interdisciplinary class that allows non-science majors to take part in hands-on research.
"Space Grant's above-average ratings in all but three of the 51 categories are indicative of the depth and breadth of excellence in the program," said Michael Brown, chairman of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences.
The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium is comprised of 13 academic and informal education institutions. Established in 1989, its mission is to assure Washington residents a productive future in aerospace science and technology.
Where are they now? '97 alumna seeks answers to solar mysteries
You could call Alysha Reinard a "solar sleuth."
The '97 Space Grant alumna is now a post-doctoral fellow with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., trying to solve the mystery of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) — large explosions from the sun's surface that can disrupt power grids or knock out satellites, and even endanger astronauts.
The Kelso High graduate says she feels so at home in the nation's capitol that it's hard to imagine what her life would have been like without a college education.
Alysha's parents never expected their children to attend college and did not have the means to pay for it when she applied to the University of Washington. Fortunately, a four-year Space Grant scholarship provided her with full tuition, room and board, making her dreams of a science education a reality.
"At the time I didn't have a full understanding of the whole financial situation," Alysha said. "I was hoping to get a scholarship, and a little worried I wouldn't get one. Today the idea of having not gotten a scholarship scares me much more than it did then...."
"The scholarship meant everything to me. I'm really not sure if I would have been able to go to college without it, and obviously I've benefited greatly from it."
Supported by a generous donation to Space Grant by astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, she spent the summer prior to her freshman year researching microbursts, a phenomenon which occurs in auroras. The physics major continued her research project throughout her undergraduate years, eventually publishing a paper and presenting her work at two national meetings.
Those experiences prepared her well for graduate school. In 2002, she completed her doctorate in Space and Planetary Physics at the University of Michigan.
Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant formed
Campaign UW: Creating Futuresthe University of Washington's campaign to sustain its educational excellenceoffers Space Grant alumni, their families and other friends of the program a unique opportunity to support the program's work through the new Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant Fund.
Established this summer, Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant supports scholarships and fellowships, student research opportunities at NASA and at member institutions, and other diverse projects and events that encourage science, math, engineering and technology education for Washington residents.
While NASA provides the Consortium's base funding, the agency requires its contribution to be matched by private support. Contributions to Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium help meet this goal.
There are two ways to support Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. If you receive a mailing from Campaign UW, you may designate all or part of your gift to go Friends of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium.
You can also pledge your support directly through the link on our website labeled Support Space Grant.
Your past support has helped Space Grant expand its resources and programs to Washington learners of all ages. Your future support will allow us to do even more to further science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Washington.
SG supporter remembered as researcher and educator
This summer our Space Grant community was saddened by the loss of UW Professor Emeritus Ingrith Deyrup-Olsen. In the past decade, her support of Space Grant students made it possible for 16 scholars to pursue their dreams of careers in science.
A gifted biology teacher and researcher (her findings won many scientific awards including Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships), she enjoyed students and worked tirelessly to expand educational and research opportunities for women and ethnic minorities. She founded the UW Master of Science for Biology Teachers Program and, in 1988, received the University's Distinguished Teaching award.
In 1994, she established the Sigurd Olsen Endowed Scholarship, named after her late husband. A fellow research scientist, he had been forced to leave school at age 15 due to a lack of financial support. He worked full time in the Department of Social Welfare in Copenhagen, then spent another 40 to 50 hours a week working on his true passion, the study of fresh water.
"When Sigurd died, I thought the one great deprivation of his life was that, as a young boy, he could not support himself and study in his field of interest at the same time," she told Columns, the UW alumni magazine. "He never uttered a single complaint about his past, but I saw how cruel it is that brilliant young people can be held back for financial reasons."
She was determined that other students not face the same economic obstacles that he had been forced to overcome. Each year, she attended the annual Space Grant student reception to meet the Sigurd Olsen recipients and often stayed in touch with them throughout their university careers and beyond. Her bequest of $20,000 ensures that the Sigurd Olsen Endowment will continue to support students on their path to success.
Looking back on her long career in the sciences, she once offered this thought on what makes a successful career. "Any career in which you are committed and excited by your workit's a wonderful way to get through life."
NSIP annual contest gets local leadership
Washington Space Grant has been chosen as regional lead for the 2004-5 NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP<).
NSIP competitions for students in grades K-12 help students learn firsthand the excitement of exploring science, mathematics, geography and technology.
Challenges are presented according to grade levels (K-1, 2-4, 5-8 and 9-12) and include categories such as My Planet Earth, Science and Technology Journalism, and Designing a Lunar-based Mission to Mars. Depending upon the grade level, students may compete as a class, a team or as individuals.
The deadline for submitting projects in the NSIP Space Flight Opportunities category is January 15, 2005; all other NSIP projects are due January 31, 2005.
SG community celebrates student acoomplishments
On Oct. 3, nearly 60 student researchers presented the results of their work to University of Washington faculty, family and fellow students at the Space Grant Reception and Poster Session.
The annual event honors the incoming Space Grant scholars and recognizes the work of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) participants, as well as other summer researchers supported by Space Grant.
"When I hear undergraduates talk about their projects I'm struck by the depth of understanding that they develop in a relatively short period of time, and by the confidence that they gain from being treated as a colleague," said Space Grant Director Janice DeCosmo.
This year, students from other Consortium schools also attended the poster session and reception. San Nguyen, an Undergraduate Research Award recipient and physics major at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, presented a poster on his work developing computer models for surface amorphous solid water surface diffusion.
Amber Johnson, a URA recipient and biology major at Western Washington University, presented the results of her research on the impacts of boat traffic on the Yellow Island harbor seal population. She later presented a talk on her work at the annual Consortium meeting.
SURP co-sponsors include the Mary Gates Endowment for Students and individual faculty participants. The Intel Diversity Grant, awarded this year to the Department of Electrical Engineering, co-sponsored work by 10 SURP students.
"Intel and Electrical Engineering share the goal of improving the diversity of electrical engineering employees and students," said EE Professor John Sahr. "We are very grateful for Intel's support, and look forward to continuing this collaboration."
This year Space Grant awarded UW scholarships to 17 incoming freshmen and three community college students. Continuing scholarships were awarded to 55 UW students.
SCCC awards five Space Grant scholarships
Carole Manning, like many Space Grant scholars at Seattle Central Community College, has had to overcome many obstacles, juggling work, classes and study while still maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
The resident of a transitional housing program for young adults who are trying to get on their feet financially, she has a work-study position as a lab technician at the Infectious Disease Research Institute. Her duties there range from general lab work and tissue culture to library research. The experience has played an important role in shaping her education and goals.
"When I started my associate degree requirements, I thought I wanted to study physics," she says. "However, since I've been working at the Infectious Disease Research Institute, I've become interested in biology. Now my goal is to pursue a bachelor's degree in molecular biology."
Although it is still early, Carole thinks she might like to pursue a graduate degree in medical research.
This year, five SCCC students received $2,000 Space Grant scholarships.
Jason Kee is the first in his family to attend college. Despite working 30 hours a week, Jason is extremely involved on campus as a student ambassador and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He plans to transfer to the University of Washington to complete a bachelor's degree in computer science.
With Emma Lavin's passion for marine biology, it's no wonder she finds an extra four hours each week to volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium. Emma, another first-generation college student, carries a full class load and also works part-time. Her goal is to graduate and transfer to a four-year school to continue her biology studies.
Full-time student Eliana Scott-Thomas, the mother of six, is already a science educator. In addition to pursuing her own studies, she also home schools her children. She plans to enroll in the biotechnology program then transfer to the University of Washington. Her goal is to become a science teacher.
Christopher Barnhart has a passion for quantum mechanics and nanotechnology. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, he maintains a 3.8 GPA and tutors a fellow student in physics. He plans to major in physics and eventually work in a research laboratory, possibly at NASA.
JPL internships give students a look at life inside NASA
If one thing stuck in the minds of the interns who worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory this year, it was the quality of their mentors.
"The people who helped our group are among the best in the world at what they do and we were able to pick their brains on a daily basis," said Ryan Wistort, a University of Washington electrical engineering major.
This summer, Space Grant awarded eight internships to Washington students. JPL internships provide students with a unique opportunity to participate directly in cutting-edge research and present their findings to some of the top minds in science. They also give them an overview of their fields that they might not receive in industry internships.
Harshpreet Walia, a Western Washington University computer science major, deployed statistical algorithms used in astronomy to find transient objects and quasars as web services so astronomers could easily search and utilize them. For Harshpreet, the high point of his internship was a weeklong conference on web and grid services. "This really helped me see how the developers of the technology are using it for various applications," he said.
The JPL atmosphere is completely different from the classroom and interns have a chance to look at the "big picture," said Marleen Martinez, an aeronautical & astronautical engineering major. "You finally get to see what it is that your circuits class, or your calculus class, or even your dynamics class are there for."
Students' JPL experiences often translate into research projects at home. Marleen is now the Washington lead on MIMIC, a student-run project to design and build a microsatellite to measure the residual magnetic field on Mars. She learned about the project at JPL. MIMIC is designed to "piggy-back" on the 2011 JPL orbiter.
Matthew Neel, a 2003 intern, created an experimental set-up for determining the dielectric and time decay constants of insulators used in printed circuit boards (PCBs). It became the basis for his senior thesis at Whitman College.
SG scholarships applications available
Scholarship applications for incoming freshmen and community college transfer students planning to attend the University of Washington are now available online at the Space Grant website.
Students planning to study science, technology, engineering or math are eligible to apply for Space Grant scholarships. The awards are based on academic achievement, standardized test scores, personal essays, recommendations and future academic promise.
Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are awarded for one year at a time. Scholarship recipients may apply for renewal, depending on availability of funding, and provided that they maintain program requirements for their majors and a satisfactory GPA. Renewal applications can be made for up to four years for incoming freshmen; two years for transfer students.
The scholarship program is designed to create a small college atmosphere within the larger university. Along with financial support, Space Grant scholars receive help with registration, campus resources, and academic advising, can participate in the Space Grant mentor program and have the option of living on the Space Grant dormitory floor.
Space Grant awards approximately 20 to 25 UW scholarships annually. In the past, Space Grant scholars have gone on to win Goldwater scholarships and become regional Marshall and Rhodes Scholar finalists. Many continue on for their doctoral degrees.
The deadline for incoming freshman to apply is Jan. 14, 2005. Community college transfer students have until March 25, 2005.
More AstroAdventure lessons
Astro Adventures IIby the Pacific Science Center's Dennis Schatz and former PSC educator Paul Allanreceived a rousing reception from state teachers. The curriculum updates the critically acclaimed teacher's guide, Astro Adventures.
Developed with Space Grant funding, the text aligns with national and state space science standards and covers topics such as patterns of the sun's movements and phases of the moon plus hints for integrating space science topics into other curriculum areas. The original book is in use in 11 school districts. In July, Schatz and Space Grant Associate Director Julie Lutz conducted a three-day workshop for 17 teachers.
Copies of Astro Adventures II (grades 4-12) and a shorter version of the text entitled Astro Adventures: Upper Elementary Curriculum may be purchased from the Pacific Science Center.
Space Spot visits popular with businesses and families
The Space Spotdesigned by Pacific Science Center to bring basic astronomy and space science to communities that do not have access to a science centerhas proved a stellar success.
This summer and fall, the traveling exhibit visited shopping malls throughout the state. By placing the exhibit in malls, science educators have been able to reach people who cannot or might not be inclined to visit a museum.
"At Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, we had over 400 visitors to the traveling planetarium shows alone, which meant that we were at capacity for pretty much every show presented over that three-day period," said Marabeth Rogers, the PSC's regional tour supervisor.
Rene Morris, marketing manager for Cascade Mall in Burlington, said earlier that when The Space Spot was at the mall, traffic increased by 12 percent over the previous year. Cascade was one of the first malls to display the exhibit.
The Space Spot is designed to be hands-on and entertaining, as well as educational. Visitors to the exhibit can find out how much they weigh on different planets and hold a meteorite.
In addition, trained staff is on hand to answer questions and conduct informal one-on-one activities. Visitors also receive a take-home activity guide and information on a website that they can refer back to long after The Space Spot left their community.
Subway Restaurants of Western Washington sponsored eight appearances of The Space Spot. Paul Armour, franchise board chair for Subway, said the franchise owners are committed to supporting education in their communities.
Partnering with PSC allowed the group to have an impact on a wide range of residents served by the restaurants, he said. "It was the perfect way to demonstrate our commitment to learning and support of science education."
The Space Spot was designed with support from the National Science Foundation and in cooperation with Washington Space Grant.
NASA officials have called the display an excellent example of innovative ways to reach the general public and a model of low-cost yet effective outreach for other Space Grants.
Roger says the exhibit may tour nationally. In the meantime, when not on tour, it is displayed at Pacific Science Center. For more information on The Space Spot and future appearances, visit www.pacsci. org/spacespot/.
SG Scholars' Achievements
SURP participant and UW senior Annamarie E. Askren will reprise her presentation "Design of a Multichord Soft X-ray Diagnostic for the HIT-SI Spheromak" at The American Physical Society's 46th annual meeting of the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). The meeting will be held in Savannah, Georgia Nov. 15-19.
Space Grant JPL intern Marleen Martinez recently published the results of her research on double-to-single photoionization ratio of lithium at medium energies in APS Journal's Physical Review A. She conducted her research while a participant in the University of Wisconsin's Research Experience for Undergraduates program in 2003.
Space Grant scholar Christopher Glein was one of three winners of the 2004 P.C. Cross Award in Physical Chemistry. The senior was also named the 2004 outstanding undergraduate in Analytical Chemistry.
UW alumna Kakani Young spent her summer at NASA Academy at Ames Research Center, working on a team project on public education and with astrobiology researcher Paul Espinosa on the Advanced Animal Habitat Centrifuge Project which looks at water supply considerations for research animals on the International Space Station.
Kakani graduated in June with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. She is now working on her master's degree at the California Institute of Technology.
SPACE GRANT NEWS
Want to become a NASA Explorer School?
Applications are now available to become a NASA Explorer School. Each spring, a three-year partnership is established between the agency and 50 new NASA Explorer School teams.
NASA invites the selected teams to work with education specialists from agency centers to spark innovative science, mathematics and technology instruction aimed at students in grades four through nine. NES teams acquire new teaching resources and technology tools using NASA's unique content, experts and other resources.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2005. For an application, visit http://explorerschools.nasa.gov
Teach your children science
"Helping Your Child Learn Science" offers hands-on learning activities parents can use at home to help pre-schoolers learn about things like friction and chemical reactions using simple household items. For activities, go to http://www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/science/index.htm
Start an after-school astronomy club
After-school astronomy clubs provide students, families, and even whole communities with a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of astronomy outside of the traditional school day. To help you get going, visit NASA's special site for after-school astronomy clubs at http://www.afterschoolastronomy.org/
NASA calendar helps public track the skies
NASA's Solar System Exploration site now offers a calendar that can help astronomy buffs keep track of celestial events such as phases of the moon, lunar eclipses and meteor showers. There are also links to mission updates, science news, classroom activities and an extensive library of images. Visit Solar System Exploration athttp://solarsystem.nasa.gov