Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Spring/Summer 2004

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Table of Contents:

Workforce program enters its second year

Heritage class preparing balloon

Students from Heritage College's first Access to Space class launched their high-altitude balloon experiments May 7. The class, developed and supported by Workforce Development funds, is intended to expose non-science majors to space science and electronics.

Twelve students from colleges and universities around the state are heading into research labs this summer, thanks to Washington Space Grant's Workforce Development Program.

The program, established with a $100,000 NASA grant, was renewed by NASA for a second year. "This new grant expands our current undergraduate research program to allow more students at Space Grant member institutions to do research on their campuses or at NASA centers, " said Space Grant Director Janice DeCosmo.

This spring, the program awarded five internships at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, one at the John Glenn Research Center, and five SG Undergraduate Research Awards to support student research at UW, Western Washington University and the University of Puget Sound. It also supports a NASA Academy student at Ames Research Center, two Access to Space classes and the UW microgravity team.

This year, Washington and Massachusetts Space Grants received an additional $40,000 to support the work of undergraduate students on the Translife Mars Gravity Biosatellite project. The project—a collaboration by students at UW, MIT and the University of Queensland—will carry mice into space under simulated Martian gravity to study how partial-gravity environments affect mammals.

About 20 UW students are currently working on the project, said Adam Bruckner, chair of aeronautics and astronautics. "The launch is planned for 2007 but may slip to 2008, depending on the overall funding situation."

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SG trio sweeps 2004 Goldwater scholarships

Goldwater scholars

Noah Giansiracusa, Eliana Hechter, and Jonathan Su

In heated national competition for the coveted Goldwater scholarships this year, Space Grant Scholars nominated by the University of Washington enjoyed a clean sweep.

Mathematics major Noah Giansiracusa, computer engineering major Jonathan Su and computer science major Eliana Hechter are among the 310 students nationally who will receive scholarships from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. All three are in their second year at UW.

The awards cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. The Goldwater Foundation's scholarship program, established in 1986, encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

Noah, a Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program veteran, plans to continue his research with UW Professor Jim Morrow, looking at coding and information theory. Eliana, who is intrigued by computational biology, worked at the UW marine lab in Friday Harbor spring quarter, developing a model of cell polarization. This summer, she'll continue work on her project and attend Caltech's Computing Beyond Silicon Summer School. Jonathan, a Microsoft summer intern, is fascinated with networks and their educational applications, a topic he explores through his ongoing research on the Classroom Presenter.

Vancouver teacher named NASA educator astronaut

Eliana Hechter

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

In May, Vancouver teacher Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, 29, joined the NASA astronaut ranks as one of three new mission specialist/educator astronauts.

"Mrs. M.L.," as her science students at Hudson's Bay High School call her, is a Whitman College alumna, marathon runner and participant in Space Grant's teacher workshops.

"The outstanding workshops and materials helped me make my classroom a place for cutting-edge learning," she said. "A lot of kids aren't necessarily interested in science and math, but they do get excited about things like the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

New SG scholars see NASA careers in their futures


Flora Diaz


Sam Burden


Margo Haney

When the first NASA astronaut sets foot on Mars, that space pioneer will be someone Flora Diaz knows very well—herself.

The Everett High School graduate with an eye on a degree in electrical engineering and a career in space is one of 17 talented incoming freshmen who will join the ranks of Space Grant scholars at the University of Washington.

This year 190 promising high school students applied for scholarships. Awards range in size from $1,000 to $5,000 annually. They can be renewed for up to four years for students who continue to meet the program requirements.

Two other talented new scholars are Sam Burden of Cheney and Margo Haney of Ridgefield.

Sam combines a passion for filmmaking and math. He spent six weeks at the UW's NSF-sponsored math camp'an experience that encouraged him to apply for college and continue his math studies.

Margo, a talented musician who plans to major in bioengineering, participated in Running Start while still finding time to organize a prom dress exchange so all students could participate.

Matching funds for scholarships are provided by the UW Office of Student Affairs and by the Mary Gates, Sigurd Olsen and Irving R. and Louise Donnergaard endowments. Three scholarships have also been offered to community college transfer students.

Congratulations to Key Peninsula Middle School

Key Peninsula Middle School in Lakebay has been named one of NASA's Explorer Schools.

The three-year partnership between NASA and Key Peninsula uses NASA's unique content, experts and resources to make learning science, math and technology more appealing to students. Explorer School math and science teachers study at NASA Centers during the summer. The schools also receive funds to purchase the technology tools needed for hands-on learning.

Each year 50 schools are selected to participate in the program. Key Peninsula is the first Washington school to be selected.

SG Scholars' Achievements

SG scholar Casey Schneider-Mizell was on the UW team that scored in the top seven in the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications annual mathematical modeling contest. Schneider-Mizell, a senior, is majoring in math and physics.

UW microgravity team members Jonathan Axup, Jeffrey Boulware, Ikaika Young and his sister, team leader Kakani Young, headed to Johnson Space Center in April to participate in the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. Flying aboard the KC135, they tested the effects of varying acceleration on Rayleigh-Taylor flow. Kakani, a June grad, will participate in the NASA Academy at Ames Research Center this summer.

This spring, SG Scholar Elizabeth Gray, a senior biology major, presented her research results at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Indianapolis. She is a UW nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

SG Scholar George Sutphin, a senior, won second place in the undergraduate division at the annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) student conference with his paper, "Air Separation in a Vortex Tube."

SG Fellow Arti Garg is now at Harvard University, working with her former UW faculty mentor, physicist Chris Stubbs, who recently accepted a position there.

Diana Thayer, SG scholar and sophomore, received a scholarship from the Association for Women in Science. Diana is working in Siberia this summer, helping collect bird specimens for the Burke Museum.

Senior and SG Scholar Imai Jen-La Plante was accepted into a summer REU program in France working with the laser materials research group at the University Claude Bertrand Lyon 1.

Graduation News: SG Transfer Scholar Patrick Cimino was accepted into the UW's Medical Scientist Training Program (a combined MD/PhD program). SG Scholar Sabrina Andrews Selk received a presidential scholarship to pursue a master's degree in public health at Harvard University. This fall SG Scholar and physics major Race Roberson will begin his graduate studies in UW's Earth & Space Sciences Department. SG Scholar Peter Norgaard is headed to Princeton University to work on a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering.


A second NSIP win for Everett elementary

For the second year in a row, teacher Barney Peterson and her class at James Monroe Elementary in Everett took first place in the regional division of the National Student Involvement Program competition.

The 26 fourth graders won in the My Earth category for their investigation of the origins of a neighborhood wetland. The students developed two hypotheses. The first was that it was a natural wetland; the second that the water came from development.

UW honors astronaut

In June, astronaut and SG supporter Bonnie Dunbar received UW's Alumna Summa Laude Dignata, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a UW graduate.

Dunbar, who earned UW undergraduate and graduate degrees, is a deputy associate director at the NASA Johnson Space Center, focusing on interactions with university research teams.

Puyallup teens take national design honor

Eleventh graders from Puyallup's Emerald Ridge High School took second place in a national flying car design competition sponsored by the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology Office at NASA's Langley Research Center.

Teacher Mary Lampert and students Brandon Dimick, Federico Gonzalez, Bryan Riley, Brian Treffry and Nick Villani received $300 for the design of the Inferno PT-6-X.