University of Dayton Sophomore electrical engineering student Grace McKenna professional headshot

Ohio Space Grant Consortium Supports Sophomore Electrical Engineering Student Research

Sophomore electrical engineering student Grace McKenna started working with NASA in the Here to Observe (H2O) program in September 2023. The program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to observe and interact with NASA Planetary Science Division teams, with the goal of inspiring historically marginalized groups to be a part of the STEM workforce.

McKenna is currently working on the Europa Clipper mission that will launch later this year.

“The mission is to send a spacecraft to Europa to fly by and take different captures, measurements, all kinds of data, to let us know a little bit more about Europa because it has an ice shell,” McKenna said. “We are looking to see what it’s composed of because the details of that are still unknown.”

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Author Credit: University of Dayton Blogs

Image Credit: University of Dayton Blogs

February 2, 2024 Space Foundation Space Symposium Dear Volunteer Committee: I am delighted to provide my strongest recommendation on behalf of Bella Hettich to be a volunteer at the 2024 Space Symposium to be held April 8-11 in Colorado Springs. Bella is a Ph.D. student in the Education, Health, and Behavior Studies program at the University of North Dakota with a specialization in Higher Education where I have been serving as her advisor for the last two years. Bella’s dissertation research centers on sense of belonging and retention of students of color in aerospace programs. Her research in this area has been funded by the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium and been accepted for presentation at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity. I believe her participation as a volunteer in the Space Symposium will expose her to industry and academic leaders in the industry as she conceptualizes the empirical phase of her research. While her primary purpose as a volunteer will be to complete tasks assigned by the conference committee, I believe she will benefit from the informal conversations and observations of the field. Because the students she will be surveying will end up in the military, civil and commercial space sectors, the Space Symposium will offer her a chance to map out the broader impacts of her social science research. In terms of her personal qualities, she is reliable, professional, and adaptable which means that she will show up for her shifts and prioritize what needs to be done for the execution of the symposium. I have zero concerns about her abiding by the symposium’s code of conduct. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns or should you wish to discuss this recommendation further. Thank you for your kind consideration. Sincerely, Radomir Ray Mitic, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education, Health, and Behavior Studies University of North Dakota

Nevada Space Grant Consortium Supports High Altitude Ballooning Team

UNLV students are launching a balloon 100,000 ft. with live-streaming cameras. Why?

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UNLV engineering students plan to launch a balloon on Oct. 14 to capture “valuable engineering data” during upcoming solar eclipses.

“The last time the moon blocked out the sun in 2017, the skies above Las Vegas were covered in clouds, and rain poured down across the Valley,” said officials with the university. “A rare celestial event obscured by an unlikely weather phenomenon for a desert city and its inhabitants.”

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The next series of launches is set for early April for the total solar eclipse!

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Image Credit: UNLV


Nick Barmore, a chemistry student who is working on an undergraduate research project with Steven Girard, associate professor of chemistry, has been awarded $4,000 for his ongoing research on sensor materials. He is shown in Girard's lab on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Photos by Craig Schreiner

Wisconsin Space Grant Supports “Launching Excellence in the Lab”

From stargazing as a child in his hometown of Evansville to working as an undergraduate researcher inside the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Upham Hall, Nick Barmore has always had an interest in space.

That passion, combined with the support of UW-Whitewater’s chemistry department, earned Barmore a prestigious $4,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) as part of the Undergraduate Research Awards Program.

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Written by Chris Lindeke | Video by Kyle Winter | Photos by Craig Schreiner

Alan Rowland (left) will study different polymers with varying nitrogen content to try to understand how significant a role nitrogen plays in how lithium-sulfur batteries work. He is shown with Nawraj Sapkota (middle) and Ramakrishna Podila, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

South Carolina Space Grant Funds Student’s Battery Research

NASA is on the quest for a better battery — one that is lighter, longer lasting and able to survive the extreme temperatures found in space — and a Clemson graduate student’s research could help lay the groundwork.

Alan Rowland, a graduate student in the Clemson University Department of Physics and Astronomy, has received a prestigious NASA SC Space Grant fellowship to explore the role nitrogen plays in sulfurized polymer-based lithium-sulfur batteries.

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Author Credit: Cindy Landrum

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Jenavieve Lyon ’26 (left) and Jillian Sylvia ’24 received $7,300 each from the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium for two projects and are working to develop technologies and lab protocols meant to help up-and-coming space programs.

Rhode Island Space Grant Funds Students’ Mars Research


If you need to find Jillian Sylvia ’24 or Jenavieve Lyon ’26 this summer, look no further than Bryant’s research labs. The two School of Health and Behavioral Sciences students received $7,300 each from the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium for two projects and are working to develop technologies and lab protocols meant to help up-and-coming space programs.

Sylvia, a Biology major and seasoned summer research fellow, is creating new techniques to characterize climate on Earth’s past and present landscapes. The methods she develops could eventually be applied to Mars rock samples to look at the planet’s preservation.

Meanwhile, Lyon — an Environmental Science major engaging in her first summer research experience — is using rock and sedimentary samples to study past climate changes and apply this information to the climate changes humans are experiencing today.

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Author Credit: Emma Bartlett

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A rocket carrying NASA mission equipment lifts off in New Zealand in May. Three Utah State University engineering students — Adam Weaver, Payton Taylor, and Bryan Gricius — were awarded funding on behalf of the Utah Space Grant Consortium for internships this past summer working on rocket propulsion and space exploration equipment. (Photo Credit: NASA)

Utah Space Grant Supports Students’ Rocket Research

Three Utah State University engineering students were awarded funding on behalf of the Utah Space Grant Consortium for internships this past summer.

Adam Weaver, a recent graduate student at USU studying mechanical engineering with an emphasis in aerospace engineering, and Payton Taylor, a senior also studying mechanical engineering with an emphasis in aerospace engineering, received $6,200 each for their internships at Northrop Grumman. They worked in the propulsion systems department for four months.

“I was very thankful for this opportunity and excited that I was a recipient,” Weaver said. “The internship was a great experience.”

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Author Credit: Sydney Dahle

Image Credit: (Photo Credit: NASA)

CubeSats in space with Earth in background

Connecticut Space Grant Supports Student CubeSat Project

After a decade-long project, the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, or YUAA, is gearing up to launch a satellite into outer space in the coming year.

Through their CubeSat project, YUAA aims to send a device called a cosmic ray detector aboard a NASA rocket into orbit around the Earth. Though the initiative began in 2015, it has faced delays — most recently, one of their computers catching fire — which has bumped their target completion date from winter 2024 to 2025.

Still, CubeSat co-leads Rome Thorstenson ’25 and Matilda Vary ’25 are hopeful that the decade-long effort will soon bear fruit. Since the program’s start, two full “generations” of students have graduated, Thorstenson said. When he joined the group as a first year, he was brand new to the field.

Read the full article on “Yale Daily News.”

Author Credit: Vishnu Bharathram

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Close-up of plastic polymer granules. hand hold Polymer pellets. polymer plastic. compound polymer. Hands in rubber gloves hold plastic pellets.

Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium Awards Undergraduate Fellowship for Polymer Research

University of Massachusetts Amherst mechanical engineering major Brendan Scott has received a NASA undergraduate fellowship to study how insulative polymers could be turned into high thermal conductivity polymers. These polymers are desirable for a wide variety of applications ranging from space exploration to electronics that need to dissipate heat quickly and efficiently.

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Author Credit: Julia Westbrook

Image of planet Mars from space

Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Awards 4 Research Awards to Fairfield University

The NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) has awarded Fairfield University School of Engineering and Computing with four research grants to fund research and design projects this year. In fall of 2023, assistant professor of computer science Sidike Paheding, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering David Shekhtman, PhD, Seamus Dwyer ’24, and Dermot Warner ’24 received research grants. Lucas Danburg ’27 was awarded an undergraduate scholarship, and Gabriel Grant ’25 received the Community College Transfer Scholarship.


Read the full story on Fairfield News here.

Author Credit: Fairfield News

Image Credit: NASA

Zarah Brown, a doctoral student at the UArizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, led the installation of 11 plaques depicting various objects of the solar system across the UArizona campus.

Arizona Space Grant Consortium Supports Newly Finished Scale Solar System Across UA Campus

Thanks to a University of Arizona student and her childhood dream, visitors to the UArizona campus now can take a walk through the solar system at the same time.

Zarah Brown, a doctoral student at the UArizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, led the installation of 11 plaques depicting various objects of the solar system true to scale. Designed to show the relative sizes and distances of solar system objects at a 1:5 billion scale, the outreach project aims to make space science accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds and to highlight UArizona’s accomplishments exploring the solar system.

Dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 8, the stations comprising the Arizona Scale Model Solar System are spaced out across two-thirds of a mile of campus between the Kuiper Space Sciences Building and the intersection of East University Boulevard and North Euclid Avenue.

project website, accessible by QR codes at each stop, will provide information via screen readers for the visually impaired, as well as additional details as new scientific discoveries are made.

The project is the result of collaborative efforts made possible by the support of the NASA Space Grant program and an anonymous benefactor.

Read the full article on the University of Arizona News Page.

Author Credit: Daniel Stolte

Image Credit: Harry Tang/University of Arizona