Congratulations to all the Iowa schools who made it into the NASA Student Launch 2022 Competition! Iowa State University made it into the college and university division, along with Cedar Falls High School and Webster City High School making it into the middle and high school division.
These student teams will be designing, building, and testing a high-powered rocket to an altitude between 3,500-5,500 feet in the air. We are very proud of the teams that made it into this competition, and know that they will represent Iowa well!
The Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) awards fellowships to support outstanding graduate students pursuing research opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines that support the mission of NASA. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the ISGC is sponsoring the following awardees:
- Katelyn Brinker, Iowa State, Doctorate in Electrical Engineering
- Samuel Duncanson, Iowa State, Doctorate in Geology
- Cecilia Fasano, Iowa, Doctorate in Physics
- Samuel Murphy, Iowa, Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering
- Efrain Rodriguez-Ocasio, Iowa State, Doctorate in Chemical Engineering
- Zackry Stevenson, Iowa State, Doctorate in Microbiology
- Kody Waldstein, Iowa, Doctoate in Immunology
- Murtaza Zohair, Iowa State, Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering
Read for more information on Nicole’s NASA FINESST Award
Nicole was a former ISGC Undergraduate Student at the University of Northern Iowa, so we believed it was only fitting to do a highlight on her and see where she is at now with her career. She received an undergraduate research fellowship from ISGC for the 2018-2019 school year and worked under Dr. Joshua Sebree doing in situ UV-Vis measurements of gas mixtures relevant to the atmosphere of Titan. During this research opportunity, she explored how different isotopes, gas ratios, and temperatures affected the photokinetics of aerosols. During this research program, she found clarification that this was what she wanted to do in the work area of astrochemistry while moving to graduate school.
Nicole is currently a researcher in Dr. Heather Allen’s lab at Ohio State University and is working on developing methods for understanding the chemical components of the sea surface microlayer. She recently was awarded a Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology research grant to explore and better understand data from the Cassinni mission through the use of machine learning. She is mostly focusing on the data collected during the flybys of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s many moons.
When asked why Nicole loves STEM, she replied with “I love STEM because there is no end to the questions that can be asked. Especially when looking at a brand-new system that you haven’t considered before. During my graduate work, I was a teaching assistant with Dr. Nicole Karn for multiple lab-based courses in which students had to come up with their own research questions and hypotheses. It is really rewarding to get to help students ask new questions and oftentimes I would leave class with new questions that I had myself. STEM to me is like a never-ending puzzle and each question leads to even more to explore.”
Nicole’s involvement with ISGC was beneficial for her because of her decision to pursue a research-based degree after finishing her undergraduate work. It gave her confidence in her ability to move on from college knowing she had the ability to thrive in a research lab in the graduate school area. She got to participate in two different group projects, one being the Biogeochemical Evolution of the Atmosphere (BETA) Project, and the other being the astrochemistry course at UNI that was funded in part by ISGC. Through these opportunities, she connected with NASA in many different ways and also win the NASA FINESST award. “The ISGC has been incredibly important in preparing me for graduate school, as well as my career beyond graduate school,” Nicole states.
Nicole’s biggest advice for current students in ISGC is to work on developing a growth mindset and learn to see challenges and struggles as an opportunity to learn and try new approaches- which can be even more prevalent in the STEM world.
Be on the lookout for Nicole North! We anticipate even bigger steps in her future!
Mackenzie Deluliis, who is a 5th year Architecture student at Iowa State University, recently received an award from Stennis Space Center Future Development Concept and Master Planning Support! Because of this award Mackenzie was offered a full-time internship at NASA for the Fall 2021 semester.
Mackenzie will be using this internship as part of her studio work for the semester, and describes this new experience as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”. This experience will be the frame of an independent study that will help build her portfolio and skill set. Mackenzie contacted the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium’s Assistant Director for Education, Sara Nelson, and Director of Iowa Space Grant Consortium Tomas Gonzalez-Torres for insights on NASA and how to go about this experience. Gonzalez-Torres, a former NASA intern, NASA Flight Director, and current ISGC Director told Mackenzie “During my time at the University, I held 6 internships with NASA before I graduated. Yes, it delayed my graduation, but the experiences and insight that I gained from the real-world were invaluable toward my continued success in school and after. It also placed me in an excellent position to receive a job offer upon graduation. You don’t need to do 6 internships, but I recommend to all students to delay graduation to get that experience. Graduating a few months later is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but an incredible stepping stone toward your future.”
“My assigned project is the master Planning for Enterprise Park at Stennis Space Center,” says Deluliis. “They have a bit over 1,000 acres of undeveloped land inside their free area (inside of the acoustical buffer) that they want developed into an industrial parkway. This is a big deal for them as it’s going to be outside of their security fences. I’m doing quite a bit of active master planning for them and providing the visuals and assorted renderings they’re looking for to hopefully sell this space to the prospective tenants.”
The ISGC is excited to see another Iowa student working with NASA and encourages all students to consider interning at NASA. The first step can be as easy as getting involved with ISGC and checking out the website page for all NASA and professional field hands-on experience. Go to the ISGC website and look for undergraduates, then scroll down to the internship section for more information and how to apply and get started. The range of internships can be quite diverse, and there are many opportunities for people outside of the math and science world. Students from Iowa universities and colleges including DMACC, Drake University, Iowa State Univesity, Loras College, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa are all eligible for internship assistance and availability.
“I’m extremely excited about this project!” Deluliis also states. “I’ve been offered a spring semester internship with them as well, and believe that most of my time will be spent doing a continuation of the Master Plan for Enterprise Park. I’m enjoying the wonderful people I’ve had the chance to work with and speak to, and the broader experience of working for an organization like no other. This is an internship experience so few architecture students get to take part in, and I’m really excited to be where I am.”
Congratulations to Mackenzie. We are excited to see how she will grow this semester!
In August, Make to Innovate Student Organization teamed up with ISGC, Iowa 4H Extension and Outreach, and SBA at the Iowa State Fair to launch popular fair foods up into space. Check out this infographic to see all the details and data from this interesting project and its results.