NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) is pleased to announce the recipients of its Fall 2023 Call for Proposals. Award recipients include 21 faculty members and 23 undergraduate/graduate students, and are from 12 NASA CTSGC academic affiliate member institutions. Below are the names of all recipients of the Undergraduate/Graduate Grants, Scholarships, and Faculty Grants.

Congratulations to the Fall 2023 CT Space Grant award recipients!

Faculty Awards

Faculty Project

Mohammad Rahman
Central Conneecticut State University
Predicting Li-Ion Battery Performance Under Varying Conditions: A Student-Centric Investigation

This project centers on the pivotal role of lithium-ion power batteries in energy storage systems in various industries. The project will empower students with practical skills through hands-on experimentation, investigating how varying conditions, such as temperatures, affect Li-ion battery performance, key battery parameters, and measuring and analysis under variable conditions. Students will learn prognostic models for Li-Ion Batteries by leveraging NASA’s extensive impedance dataset generated through temperature-variable charging and discharging experiments. These models hold promise in industries, aerospace, and renewable energy. The project unites theory and practice to advance knowledge and practical capabilities, making it invaluable in educational and industrial contexts. 

Faculty Research

Rasmani Hazra
University of New Haven
Assessing the Role of a Novel Oncogenic lncRNA, LINC00461, in Glioma Progression

Radiation-induced genetic alteration is associated with high-grade gliomas in both space and terrestrial environments. The unique environmental factors in space can differentially express long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), which play an important role in glioma progression. We will characterize a newly identified lncRNA, LINC00461, which is highly expressed in glioblastoma stem cells (GSC) compared to neural stem cells. We will assess how LINC00461 deletion affects GSC proliferation, migration, and stemness using various in vitro assays. Our findings will provide important insights into tumor progression and how lncRNAs, and LINC00461 in particular, could be exploited as a biomarker and /or therapeutic target.

Dan Liu
University of Hartford
Development of Interative Simulations of Human Body Integrating Augmented Reality

With Augmented Reality (AR) technology, the interactive simulations of the human body which we proposed to develop will provide in-time quantitative values of the forces on muscles and joints of different groups of people under various situations, including astronauts in space stations. The simulations function as an AR biomechanics analyzer will help the people be aware of the risk of injuries and give reference data for better gestures in body exercise. The simulations can also be implemented as a supplementary educational tool. Not only students majoring in Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation and Health Sciences will benefit from using it, but also students who are learning the concept of equilibrium in undergraduate interdisciplinary physics or biomechanics courses in general. 

Chang Liu
University of Connecticut
Quantum Computation of Hydrodynamic Stability: From Aerospace to Convection in the Sun

Understanding the transition to turbulence of flow around a transport vehicle and convection in the Sun are both computationally expensive due to associated extreme parameters. Recent developments of variational quantum eigensolver have demonstrated quantum speed-up in certain applications, but it is limited to Hermitian matrices, which prevents its direct application in hydrodynamic stability problems. This project aims to adapt existing variational quantum eigensolver to non-Hermitian matrices suitable for hydrodynamic stability problems and explore the potential speed-up of quantum computation in exploring extreme parameter regimes of flow motivated from aerospace and astrophysics applications.

Sarah Maurer
Central Connecticut State University
The Role of Floating Islands on Ocean Worlds: Investigating Chemical Evolution in Vesicular Lava and Pumice

Pumice is a volcanic product that could serve as a surface for prebiotic chemistry on ocean worlds, including early Earth. We will model this novel environment by generating an organic mixture based off the composition of carbonaceous meteorites, and explore wet-dry cycles in the presence and absence of pumice. The products will be analyzed using LC-MS and functional assays be compared using principal component analysis, to demonstrate the role pumice can play in evolving chemical mixtures. This is directly relevant to understanding prebiotic evolution, and the abiotic background which is under the Exobiology program in the Science Mission Directorate.

Hashini Mohottala
University of Hartford
Deltoid Muscle Force Simulation and Prototype Verification

Understanding deltoid muscle mechanics is vital across human biomechanics, sports science, and rehabilitation. This STEM-driven study delves into the complexities of this pivotal muscle, essential for supporting shoulder stability and upper limb functionality. The primary objective of this inquiry is to help students enrolled in the Mechanics and Human Body course, mainly catering to students from majors in physical therapy and health sciences. This interdisciplinary pedagogical research intersects with NASA’s mission to promote STEM education. It also contributes to our understanding of human physiology in the challenging environment of space, furthering the agency’s overarching goals. 

Sidike Paheding
Fairfield University
MARSLIDE: Mapping MARtian LandSLIDEs and Understanding their Morphological Characteristics Via Deep Learning and Multimodal Imagery

Geological history of Mars, transitioning from a water-bearing planet to a barren one, offers valuable insights into landscape evolution and past climate conditions. Traditional landslide studies rely on labor-intensive visual interpretation of medium to high-resolution optical images, which can be subjective and time-consuming. In contrast, deep learning-based automated landslide segmentation streamlines this process, reducing the need for extensive human labor and expertise in feature extraction. This research aims to employ deep learning for comprehensive Mars landslide mapping, unveiling spatial patterns and process mechanisms. This project aligns with NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate objectives, emphasizing its relevance. 

Todd Ryder
Southern Connecticut State University
Multicomponent Reactions of Ketone Substrates

The Petasis reaction is a multicomponent process that combines an organoboronic acid, a carbonyl compound, and an amine to generate densely functionalized products in high yields under mild conditions. It is widely believed that multicomponent processes like the Petasis reaction played an important role in the generation of organic building blocks such as amino acids from simpler precursors on prebiotic Earth. Interestingly, nearly all the examples reported in the literature to date have focused on aldehyde substrates. We are interested in extending the scope of this reaction to more challenging ketone substrates, such as 2-hydroxyacetophenone and pyruvic acid.

David Shekhtman
Fairfield University
Parametric Study of (2+1)-Multiphoton Acetone Excitation for Nonintrusive Laser Diagnostics of High-speed Flow over Canonical Flight Geometries in Ground-Testing

Nonintrusive tagging diagnostics of high-speed flows in ground-test facilities are used for the pursuits of validating computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes and developing new fluid models to describe transitional and turbulent flow regions. Acetone is a tracer, with (1) an easily accessible excitation spectrum and (2) signal enhancement due to oxygen (225-320 nm). The (2+1)-multiphoton excitation of acetone has yet to be explored within the context of molecular tagging for ground testing purposes. This proposal wishes to conduct a parametric study of the variables involved in the excitation process, so as to maximize signal. This will include variation in pressure, acetone seeding concentration, contaminant concentration (O2 and H2O), laser intensity, laser polarization, and secondary laser excitation. Two-laser thermometry will also be attempted. The PI of the proposal requests $10,000 from the CT NASA Consortium to cover the cost of supplies, one graduate student, and a stipend. The total budget is $20,800. Research will take place between Dec. 1-June 1, with initial preparations beginning on Nov. 1.

Mohammad Reza Vaziri Sereshk
Central CT State University
Exploring New Geometries for Improving Energy Absorption Mission of Lightweight Meta-Structures

Energy absorption capability of lattice structures benefits protective devices and packaging applications. Application of metallic lattices as the blast-absorber for military armor vehicles in the event of land-mine blast is the most recent one. However, these types of lightweight structures can be used in space mission as the impact-absorber in the event of crash of the space flying objects with the satellites or space station, as well as secure and safe landing of NASA capsule once it hits the ground. In this study, the current technologies for 3D-printing of delicate lattices from polymer are examined and 3D-printing manufacturability is discussed. Then, some innovative geometries are proposed for the structure to improve energy absorption of lattices. Particular attention will be devoted to plateau behavior of corresponding characteristic diagrams. 

Song Wang
University of Hartford
Accelerated Construction and Rehabilitation Using Prefabricated Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) and Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Laminates

In the pursuit of developing human exploration systems and architectures for lunar and Martian missions, the proposed project delves into the potential of utilizing prefabricated ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) and fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) as innovative construction materials for space habitats, aligning seamlessly with NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) objectives. With a specific focus on repairing corroded steel beams, the project explores optimal construction methods employing prefabricated UHPC block and externally bonded FRP laminates. Extensive mechanical tests will be conducted on both undamaged steel beams and those rehabilitated using prefabricated UHPC and FRP, assessing the recovered strength and deformation capacity. By enhancing the structural integrity, durability, and safety of space infrastructures, this initiative directly addresses ESDMD’s concerns in the realm of human exploration system development.

Sumith Yesudasan Daisy
University of New Haven
Testing Passive Radiative Cooling for Spacecraft Thermal Protection

This research, “Testing Passive Radiative Cooling for Spacecraft Thermal Protection,” explores passive daytime radiative cooling, aiming to enhance spacecraft thermal defense. Inspired by Earth-based cooling surfaces, the study adapts this technique for spacecraft facing extreme orbital temperatures. The experiment employs multilayered films of Vanadium dioxide, Silicon dioxide, and Silver. Using a specialized acrylic chamber, we will investigate Vanadium dioxide’s cooling efficiency. Unique methodologies involve suspending samples to reduce heat dissipation and using a vacuum for minimized convective and conductive losses. Integrated with advanced instrumentation, our findings align with NASA’s objectives, potentially transforming cooling strategies for future spacecraft.

Faculty STEM Education Programming Grant

Brianna Kirk
Central CT State University
Exploring the World to Ease the Mind: Studying the Impact of Science Education and Camping Experience on Science Anxiety Reduction

Numerous research studies have examined math and science anxiety amongst college students. (See, for example, Ashcraft, 2002, Bryant et al., 2013, England et al, 2019, and Cooper et al., 2023.) The proposed project will have university faculty introduce incoming first-year students to science in an informal, collaborative, and non-academic overnight camp environment. Additionally, peer counselors with majors in the sciences will demystify science and address students’ concerns while creating a community of science learners. Pre and post-tests will demonstrate the utility of the approach for lessening first-year students’ anxiety and improving students’ attitudes and perceptions of the sciences.

Lin Lin
Middlesex Community College
Adventures in Learning STEM GEMS CAMP 2024

Adventures in Learning STEM GEMS Camp seeks to get children excited about learning by presenting opportunities to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math in creative and innovative ways. Campers learn about the marvels of science through scientific experiments, experience computer technology, learn the wonders of math, and the value of engineering. Each year we take children on expeditions around the City of Middletown to discover STEM GEMS (Great Educational Middletown Sites) and learn how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics impact our lives every day. We also bring industry professionals and experts to them to provide impactful exposure to careers in STEM.  

Fatma Pakdil
Eastern Connecticut State University
Collaborative Research: Research Experiences for High School Students in Big Data Analytics in Healthcare

There is a shortage of high school students who intend to pursue a career in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). To support NASA’s mission directorates that aim to increase interest in STEM among students, this proposal aims to perform a research institute at Eastern Connecticut State University for high school students to increase awareness of STEM fields. Participant will 1) be encouraged to pursue STEM careers, 2) develop an awareness of STEM fields, and 3) learn how to use big data analytics in STEM fields.

Meng-Ju Sher
Wesleyan University
Wesleyan Girls in Science Summer Camp

Female faculty members from Wesleyan’s natural science and mathematics, in partnership with Middletown Public Schools, run a one-week “Girls in Science Summer Camp” for underserved elementary school girls from Middletown, CT, and the surrounding communities. The camp is designed to reveal to 32 girls, 9-12 years old the science that surrounds them in their daily lives, while also exposing them to (1) scientific concepts and vocabulary, (2) equipment and experiments, and (3) female scientist role models, including both faculty and female Wesleyan science students. Campers explore scientific topics ranging from neural activity and renewable energy to biochemistry through hands-on activities and science-inspired art projects.

Faculty STEM Education Research Grant

Cindy Thomas-Charles
University of Hartford
Active Learning and Student-Driven Study Guides: Elevating Self-Efficacy and Metacognition in Biology Education for Tomorrow’s Space Scientists

Active learning pedagogical strategies have been proven to effectively enhance student engagement, motivation, and performance. This study aims to demonstrate the potential of active learning and student-developed study guides in promoting student self-efficacy and metacognition. We will be using the Metacognition Awareness Inventory (1) to gather self-reported self-efficacy and metacognition data, which will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of these strategies. Developing critical-thinking skills early on is essential and applicable not just within the classroom but beyond it as well. It is, therefore, imperative to improve metacognitive awareness and self-efficacy as this can contribute significantly to the development of a high-performing scientific workforce

Jacob Werblow
Central CT State University
Developing an Evaluation tool to Measure STEM Best Practices through NASA Astro Camp Teacher Professional Development

For the past five years, the CT STEM Academy has provided teacher training as well as enrichment programs for historically underserved youth across central Connecticut. The NASA Astro Camp Teacher Certification is one such training, which gives classroom teachers and aspiring educators the chance to learn how to inspire youth to learn about space with NASA unique activities. Although over twenty CT educators have participated in the NASA Astro Camp, an external evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the Camp has not yet been conducted. This grant will allow us to conduct an external evaluation of the Camp pilot. 

Faculty Travel Grant

Azmain Nisak
Wesleyan University
Travel to the 243rd American Astronomical Society conference in New Orleans, Louisiana

I am requesting funds to support travel to the 243rd American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, the largest regularly held conference in the astronomical sciences worldwide and the largest gathering of local interstellar medium (LISM) experts. My research, funded by NASA HST Grant GO-16225, helps to map out and refine the structure of the LISM. At the conference, I will have the opportunity to present my research findings, meet and discuss with coauthors, form new collaborations and networks with NASA scientists, and develop my skills in research, education, and outreach as an aspiring NASA scientist and educator. 



Graduate and Undergraduate Awards

Graduate Research Fellowship

Baha Alsaqri
Central Connecticut State University
A Mutational Approach to Determining the Key Outer Membrane Cytochrome Complex for Fe(III) Oxide Reduction by Geobacter Metallireducens

Extracellular electron transfer is used by anaerobic microorganisms that respire Fe(III) oxide. During this process, electrons pass the cell envelope using cytochromes. Geobacter metallireducens contains 3 cytochrome complexes (Pcc’s) that carry electrons from the outer membrane to the extracellular space, but we hypothesize that only 1 Pcc is required. This project’s objective is to determine the key Pcc using a mutational approach. Identifying the key Pcc will advance our understanding of Fe(III) reduction and offer insights into the evolutionary roots of this process. This project aligns with NASA’s mission to understand the molecular processes underpinning the conditions for life’s emergence.

Allison Dowling
Wesleyan University
Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotopes in Asteroid Ryugu

The return samples of the asteroid Ryugu presents multiple questions about the materials found in the primitive Solar System. The objective of this research is to obtain a better understanding of the oxygen isotopes found in the phosphate in apatite (Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH), also known as hydroxyapatite, that is associated with primitive Solar System. While observing the oxygen isotopes, the measurement of bulk (δD) hydroxyapatite will be taken because the hydrogen isotopes help provide indicators for fluid on planetary bodies. In addition, the analysis of δD isotopes can be used to hypothesize the origin of water found on Earth.

Alanna Gado
University of Connecticut
High Efficiency and High Durability Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolyzers for Hydrogen Production with Advanced Catalyst Coated Membranes

The research outlined in this work is focused on the development of PSFA-free PEM water electrolyzers with low hydrogen crossover. The use of a dual platinum recombination later in a selected hydrocarbon membrane will minimize hydrogen crossover while ensuring high efficiency and durability. The development of a high performing, low hydrogen crossover PSFA-free PEMWE supports NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) by providing the ability to use electricity generated by photovoltaic arrays to produce and store hydrogen and oxygen, and then use fuel cells to provide the crew with electrical power as necessary during periods of darkness.

Alexander Petroski
Southern Connecticut State University
Measuring High-Precision Internal Motions at the Core of Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae with Hubble Space Telescope Images

Globular clusters are dense clusters of stars which have eluded our understanding due to the difficulty of obtaining precise measurements of the internal motion of stars in their innermost regions. Using state-of-the-art astrometric techniques, I propose a pilot study of globular cluster 47 Tucanae to obtain higher-than-ever precision measurements of the internal motions of a globular cluster core. I plan to use HST data with an unprecedented time baseline of ~20 years to obtain proper motions per individual star with an error on the order of just 6.5-10 μas/yr. This measurement will help to constrain mass models of the cluster.

Clara Ramirez
University of Connecticut
Enhancing Product Development through the Integration of Model-Based Engineering Strategies and Harnessing the Power of the Digital Thread

This project is dedicated to advancing the system development process by employing innovative Model-Based Engineering (MBE) approaches that contribute to the augmentation and refinement of Digital Thread (DTh) integration. While successful demonstrations of the digital thread have been achieved at the part and process levels, there is a recognized need for further research to establish best practices in building the digital thread at the systems level for complex systems. The research delves into the optimal integration of systems models, physics-based systems models, manufacturing models, and test models to construct a comprehensive digital thread that optimizes processes across the entire development lifecycle.

Undergraduate Research Grants

Seamus Dwyer
Fairfield University
Automated Coil Pipe End Deburring System

Our project aims to increase the efficiency of an automated pipe end deburring system. We intend for our system to operate via brushing methods, replacing the current system of pipe deburring by a drill component. The motivation for this change is that while the drill is effective short-term, the drill has to be replaced at least once a day, halting production and limiting the automation abilities. Our task will be to select a material for the bristles of the brush that can withstand the friction of deburring operation so the brush only has to be replaced approximately every two weeks. We will use strain gages on the coil pipe itself to monitor the behavior of the pipe, ensuring that the force of the deburring does not ultimately weaken the part. We will then use equations of strengths of materials and machine design to calculate the resulting stress in the coil pipe as well as to implement threads and tolerances if necessary. The automated system will run on a basic computer software that inspects the quality of the deburr as a sort of “if/then” statement, which can be verified using lab equipment which takes detailed photos of surfaces on the small scale. The main objective is to match or exceed the abilities of manual deburring, which we estimate to be approximately one pipe per minute for an output of 50-60 pipes per hour. However, the project would be especially worthwhile if we could surpass this minimum rate, perhaps deburring 2-3 pipes per minute.

Chiara Faiola
University of New Haven
Evaluating Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Folate Effects on Protecting Mammalian Cells from Oxidative and Heat Stress Induced Damages and Death

When cells are exposed to stress, they will choose a protective or destructive pathway to prevent the cell from mutating and becoming harmful to its host. The aim of this thesis is to analyze the different effects that vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and folate have on reducing the damaging effects of cell stress, and indicate which supplement is best for cell protection. This research intends to address a more practical method in terms of cost, space, and storage to maintain the health of astronauts for sustained manned missions.

Natasha Lardie
University of Hartford
Exploring Space Transport Routes for Asteroid Mining

Asteroid mining is an up-and-coming venture into the solar system that will help propel humans further into space through the commercial sampling of asteroids. Asteroid mining could have a broad reach that aids in the preservation of Earth’s finite landscape. The properties of the Hohmann transfer orbit combined with slingshot maneuvers, available technologies, and where the processing of samples occurs will be explored in regard to energy consumption. The research conducted will provide an interactive activity for high school students that will provide a direct connection to learned material and provide an example of what their futures may hold.

Student Project Grants

Elsa Durcan
Yale University
Drone Navigation in a GPS Denied Environment

Liquid-propellant rockets are used extensively within the aerospace industry for orbital and deeper space missions, aligning it closely with NASA’s HEO Mission Directorate. Unlike solid rocket boosters, they add a higher degree of functionality due to its re-startability, throttling capabilities, and efficiency. Project Liquid is a Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) initiative to develop a deeper scientific understanding of these liquid propulsion technologies. Members will develop the technical skills necessary for post collegiate work in the aerospace industry, which will further humanity’s development of orbital and deep-space rocketry.

Olivia McMichael
Trinity College
Variability in Wave Energy Capturing from Triboelectric Nanogenerator

This project aims to harness renewable energy from ocean waves by utilizing a Triboelectric Nanogenerator (TENG) converter. The primary objective is to create a scalable TENG wave energy converter (WEC) that efficiently transforms wave energy into usable electricity. Achieving this involves evaluating various TENG systems and selecting the most suitable one for integration into a WEC. The project also seeks to investigate how wave frequency and amplitude affect power generation, energy conversion and storage. Experimental tests will be conducted in a constructed wave tank under varying wave conditions to refine the design for effective energy conversion and storage.

Grady Morrissey
Yale University
Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) Bouchet Low Earth Alpha-Beta Space Telescope (BLAST) CubeSat

The identification of cosmic ray sources is an active area of research, and the energy distribution of the highest-energy particles at the largest scales has ramifications for cosmology and the theory of particles. We seek to identify and make measurements of the energy of particles in these showers, to contribute to the ongoing collection of data about these rays. Our specific objectives are to build a 2U CubeSat (20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) with fully developed radio communication, power supply, and attitude determination and control systems, which will detect cosmic rays in low earth orbit. In this specific proposal, we seek funding for our payload CRD components, and other fabrication expenses
The Bouchet Low Earth Alpha-Beta Space Telescope (BLAST) CubeSat serves as a STEM educational and research opportunity for Yale undergraduates. In 2018, YUAA was selected to participate in NASA’s CubeSat Student Launch Initiative (CSLI) and we have been corresponding with NASA since then. The project is divided into the subsystems of Radio, Cosmic Ray Detector Payload, Power, Attitude Determination and Control Systems (ADCS) and Software. Hence team members can explore many aspects of aerospace engineering such as running orbit simulations to determine the performance of the solar panels, designing subsystems to stabilize the position and orientation of the satellite, creating particle detectors in a compact form factor, and developing rigorous flight software. Since few students in YUAA have past experience working with satellites in a professional or research setting, we seek advice from professors and professionals, and review the extant research to make decisions. Learning about satellite construction and the physics of cosmic rays is an essential part of the project. The scientific objective of this project is to monitor changes in the morphology of the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). The SAA is a region where Earth’s inner van Allen belt drops in altitude from around 450km to around 200km, low enough to affect satellites in low Earth orbit. Satellites passing through the SAA often must shut down to avoid damage. Cosmic rays, high-energy particles of cosmic origin, sometimes become trapped in Earth’s van Allen belts. The CubeSat will include a scintillator-based cosmic ray detector to monitor the fluxes of multiple populations of cosmic rays, including protons and alpha particles. These measurements will allow us to track changes in the shape and size of the SAA. This work is only possible from space because the majority of cosmic rays are absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere. We plan to determine more information about the cosmic rays within the anomaly, and contribute to the ongoing study of this phenomenon.

Feiayn Orourke
University of Hartford
Design and Development of Frequency Selective and Split-Ring Resonator Metamaterial Biological Sensing Technologies

The primary focus of this project is to design, test, and fabricate various configurations of Frequency Selective (FS) and Split-Ring Resonator (SRR) Metamaterial devices for biological sensing purposes. These sensors can be integrated into unmanned space probes and planetary rovers. A simultaneous investigation will be conducted to enhance these sensors for monitoring biological and non-biological impurities in living environments in space. We will use commercial Finite Element (FEM) software to design and test the initial device topologies across various scales of fabrication and frequency ranges within the microwave electromagnetic spectrum. The Multiscale Metamaterial Research Microwave Optics table will be used to test the most promising FS and SRR Metamaterial designs, which will be fabricated using a modified high-precision PCB milling technique. This project will enhance NASA-related research and strengthen collaboration with the Multiscale Metamaterial Research group at the University of Hartford.

Dermot Warner
Fairfield University
Cost Effective Vibration Table

This research project aims to create an affordable, compact vibration table for K-12 classrooms and NASA labs, primarily for testing space component resilience during launches, landings, and missions. The central challenge is to design this table using readily available components. Objectives involve simulating spacecraft mechanical vibrations, assessing diverse materials, and facilitating space system development. Key factors include cost-effectiveness, adaptability to various materials and vibration requirements, and suitability for educational and research applications. The methodology includes component research, design, testing protocol development, and analysis. Successful completion will provide a valuable, cost-effective tool for both education and NASA, enhancing accessibility to insights into space component behavior and system durability.

Zachary Zitzewitz
Yale University
Yale Rocketry Team – Spaceport America Cup ’24 Submission

The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) is devoted to helping undergraduates pursue their passion for aerospace, and competing in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) at Spaceport America will help us achieve our mission. This year, we will finish the construction of a composite single-stage rocket with innovative fabrication techniques to propel it to 10,000 feet above ground level. Redundant onboard electronics, including a student researched and designed flight computer, will deploy parachutes to safely recover the rocket, log flight data, and conduct a fluid dynamics experiment in a high-g environment. This innovative rocket will be flown at IREC during the summer of 2024.

Student Travel Grants

Rewa Bush
Wesleyan University
Travel to 243rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Orleans, LA.

I request travel funding to attend the 243rd Meeting of AAS. At the meeting I will present my research probing the latest observations from New Horizons (NH) for evidence of clouds in the local interstellar medium. We use radiative transfer models to determine whether NH has detected an interstellar cloudscape surrounding the heliosphere, increasing our understanding of our solar system’s environs. This funding will enable me to build professional and presentations skills and make connections crucial to my PhD applications. We gratefully acknowledge NASA’s support of NH through contract NASW-02008 to SwRI and subcontract R99037CB to Wesleyan University.

Kylyn Smith
Yale University
Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association’s Space Policy Research Collaborative

By the conclusion of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association’s Space Policy Research Collaborative (SPRC), several focused research teams will produce full-length reports and accompanying briefings of sufficient detail and insight so as to be presentable to an official policy-making organization. The SPRC will partner with the Yale Joseph P. Allen i5 Squadron as well as receive direct mentorship from the Hacking for Defense national corporation to produce the most informed and effective work, targeting a spectrum of space topics, from detecting launches to navigating the military-industrial space complex to the regulatory implications of a proliferated space systems communication architecture.

Gabriella Wilkerson
Wesleyan University
Travel to: The Forks, ME, Trip to the Totality

The Wesleyan Society of Physics Students (SPS) is run by Owen Dunton and Gabriella Wilkerson. SPS seeks a NASA travel grant to facilitate an expedition to the path of totality for the total solar eclipse occurring on April 8th, 2024. The path of totality will be passing just north of Wesleyan University. SPS intends to capitalize on this by organizing a short excursion to The Forks Maine an area nicely centered within the region of interest. The party will leave on 4.7.2024, and drive in rented vans to Cabins at Northern Outdoors in ME. They will stay there until the morning of 4.9.2024, at which point they will venture back to the Wesleyan campus. While there, attendees will work to run relativistic demos, conduct solar observations, and participate in journal clubs relating to the solar eclipse as well as continuing to work on their studies remotely.  Those attending the trip will be undergraduates, grad students, post-docs, and faculty pursuing physics or astrophysics at the University. This trip aligns with the NASA Science Mission Directorate in many ways. Seeing such a natural marvel that specifically aligns with their areas of study will invigorate students to delve deeper into their studies. The integration of individuals at varying levels in their physics careers will allow for bonding and mentorship. Additionally, students intend to document the solar eclipse and will share their exciting experiences and enthusiasm with incoming physics majors. While SPS will be asking for a nominal fee for attending on the trip to supplement the total cost there is a sliding scale option to make the trip open to all.

Student Scholarships

Undergraduate Scholarships

Brittany Blair
Central Connecticut State University

Lucas Danburg
Fairfield University

Jonathan Ho
University of Hartford

Jamar Kittling
Wesleyan University

Kalin Kochnev
University of Connecticut

Madison Olander
Central Connecticut State University

Community College Transfer Scholarships

Gabriel Grant
Fairfield University

James Petkin
Southern Connecticut State University

Kristen Poplaski
University of Connecticut

Community College Scholarships

Hannah Ashiru
Naugatuck Valley Community College

Jasmine Barber
Capital Community College

Josh Calderon
Naugatuck Valley Community College

Ayssar Farah
Asnuntuck Community College

Joey Gonzalez
Norwalk Community College

Philip Kwiatkowski
Middlesex Community College

Danielle Salvatore
Naugatuck Valley Community College

Bryan Viveros
Naugatuck Valley Community College