MSGC 2021-2022 Award Recipients

The tables below show all the MSGC award recipients for 2021-2022.

MSGC Undergraduate Fellowship Award Recipients

Adamski, JacobOakland UniversityRare-earth ‘Salen’ Phosphors as Up-converting Antennae for PhotovoltaicsMetal salen compounds continue to be valuable for a variety of applications, including catalysis, biomedical imaging, and as materials in LEDs. The project proposed herein entails the synthesis and photophysical characterization of a set of heterobimetallic salen complexes containing one transition metal (3d) and one rare-earth lanthanide (4f). We have previously shown that utilization of zinc in this platform allows for the rare-earth “antenna effect”, whereby photons harvested by the complex are converted to higher or lower energy. This process is valuable in photovoltaics, as it can convert UV and IR light to visible light that is readily absorbed by silicon solar cells. Our main goal is to swap zinc with palladium and study the implications on energy transfer pathways to further develop this platform as up-converting materials for photovoltaics.
Anderson, JosephineMichigan State UniversitySeismic Event Discrimination in SiberiaSeismology is one of our best tools to remotely understand the geophysical environment. Seismological data is often the only resource available to detect and differentiate event types, understand where they have occurred, and simultaneously provide information about planetary structure. An example is the ability to distinguish between tectonic earthquakes and nuclear explosions, which is affected by regional geology. This study, modeled on a study of regional seismic discrimination in Central Asia (Hartse et al., 1997), will yield discrimination results from the geologically complex region of Eastern Siberia, Russia. Seismograms at local and regional distances from multiple Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNEs) and earthquakes have been collected from the Lake Baikal and adjacent regions of Russia for seismic-event discrimination. Phase ratios, such as P/S, will be calculated at different frequency bands (0.75-1.5 Hz, for example) to find discrimination criteria in relation to local geology.
Boltz, LindseyHope CollegeDesign of Nanomaterials for Enhanced Sensing, Extraction, and Recycling of Lithium One interest for those participating in space travel is the innovation of technologies being used. Specifically, NASA is looking to improve long-term reliability challenges within space travel (NASA Strategic Plan 2014, Objective 1.1). For many years Ni-Cd, Ni-H2, and Ag-Zn rechargeable batteries have been used for space exploration missions, but within recent years these batteries have been found unfit due to their weight and inability to operate in increased temperatures. Due to these issues, Li-Ion batteries are now of interest for use in space exploration missions. The main target of this research is to create a quicker and more effective way of absorbing lithium from primary sources, such as lithospheric ores. To address this area of opportunity, I would propose the use of nanomaterials because of the increased strength they possess and their ability to produce high quality filters.
Bott, CaitlynCalvin UniversityProject Title: Influence of grain size, mineralogy, and soil moisture on ground penetrating radar at Dune 2, Hoffmaster State ParkThe shoreline of Lake Michigan is important to our society, and it is important to better understand the geology of the shorelines so that we can preserve it and care for it as a society. However, the Lake Michigan shoreline is misunderstood because it is constantly changing. This means that we need to understand how shoreline geological features and landforms are constructed and details of the sediment properties. The goal of this study is to improve our understanding of the subsurface of the shoreline at Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon, Michigan with a focus on Dune 2. We will test the sediment properties of the dune and beach sediment to directly compare this with geophysical data. This information will help us to refine our interpretation of geophysical data at this site, and by extrapolation, improve our ability to interpret GPR data at depths that can not be directly observed.
Bryan, LaurenHope CollegeUronic Acid Content of Sphagnum as a Proxy for the Response of Peatlands to Climate ChangeGlobally, peatlands store about twice as much carbon as there is carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Carbon storage in peatlands is due in part to the resistance of Sphagnum (peat moss) to microbial decomposition, but the biochemical mechanism for their apparent recalcitrance is not well understood. We are currently adapting a method to analyze the carbohydrate and pectin composition of the moss cell walls using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We have separated and identified a total of 10 monosaccharides and uronic acids. This method will allow us to connect the observed differences in the rate of decomposition to biochemical differences among the mosses. Identifying the biochemical mechanisms responsible for Sphagnum recalcitrance will help to predict how CO2 emissions from peatland will respond to the warming and drying expected with climate change.
Clugston, Jadon Western Michigan UniversityElectronic Realization of a Fractional-Order Chaotic SystemResearch indicates that some dynamical systems require fractional rather than integer-order derivatives to model their behavior. The approach of Demirci and Ozalp (2012) to solve factional-order differential equations by solving a related integer-order differential equation will be compared to other numerical solution methods. An electronic implementation of a fractional-order chaotic system will be developed to validate theoretical concepts and investigate required design synthesis techniques.
Davenport, StevenHope CollegeSynthesis of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles for Solar Disinfection from Aqueous SolutionsThe objective of this research is to ultimately find a more efficient method of solar disinfection of water using titanium dioxide nanoparticles. The nanoparticles will be synthesized using two different synthesis methods: anatase and solvothermal. All synthesized samples will undergo SEM, DLS, Raman, XRD, BET, and other forms of characterization. The ability to kill pathogens through solar disinfection will eventually be tested in the different sized nanoparticles to reach a conclusion on which method of preparing the nanoparticles results in the most effective catalyst for solar disinfection of water. This research is important to the countless of numbers of people worldwide who depend on disinfecting their drinking and cleaning water through zero cost systems such as solar disinfection. This research may help find a way to expedite the solar disinfection process which can take hours to complete.
DeMott, GabrielleUniversity of Michigan Geospatial mapping of wildland fire air pollution for human exposure"Wildland fires are being worsened by the effects of climate change and land management practices; by studying fires and the associated air pollution, new knowledge can be obtained about the earth’s systems and impacts on quality of life. Dr. Koman at the University of Michigan leads an interdisciplinary team focused on understanding the geospatial impact of fire on human health, including novel uses of atmospheric modeling and remote sensing data to characterize smoke exposures in California. This fellowship proposal would allow me to continue to conduct interdisciplinary research in Michigan during the summer 2021 leading to my career aspirations of earning a graduate degree in earth sciences and applying remote sensing to understudied areas, such as the quality of life for women resulting from a changing climate.
Diephuis, WilliamHope CollegeSynthesis of Zirconium Oxide-Based Nanomaterials to Catalyze Oxygen Reduction in PEM Fuel Cells"There is no doubt that climate change is a serious threat to humanity. The chief cause of climate change is human activity, such as use of fossil fuels. Our response to climate change will depend on how quickly green technology can be implemented to replace fossil fuels.
This research fellowship will introduce a new technology in the field of renewable energy. Specifically, this fellowship focuses on zirconium dioxide nanomaterials as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells. Existing fuel cells require platinum nanoparticle catalysts, which are too expensive or hydrogen fuel cells to be commercially viable. Zirconium dioxide will be much less expensive than platinum, while still retaining enough catalytic activity and excellent lifetime."
Frownfelter, KyleEastern Michigan UniversitySonification of the Cosmos: an Aural Perspective of Astronomical SpectroscopyAstronomical spectroscopy is undoubtedly an indispensable tool that has provided insight into the solar system and surrounding universe for centuries. Traditionally, the information conveyed by spectral analysis is most often limited to visual paradigms. An alternate medium for the bequeathal of spectral data is through the sense of audition. We seek to investigate the aural conveyance of data gathered by astronomical spectroscopy. The applications of this alternative modality are two-fold: the auditory exploration of celestial objects, and furthering NASA’s strategic interests.
Gagnier, BridgetHope CollegeDeveloping and Validating a Sensor Fusion AlgorithmIt is critical to prevent low back pain and injury in the workplace. Astronauts and caregivers are both susceptible to low back pain while performing their tasks. Open-source, personalized computational musculoskeletal models that are capable of generating dynamic simulations of human movement can predict the cause and effect relationship of changes in muscle and weight as well as internal joint loading during patient-handling tasks. Such a model can extend existing treatment methods and preventions . Advances in wireless inertial measurement unit sensor technology enable data collection in more realistic environments. In order to understand multi-joint coordination during tasks, multiple sensors will be required, which will also require the development and validation of sensor fusion algorithm to characterize movements. This pilot study will explore the development and validation of a sensor fusion algorithm as well as its application to an open-source musculoskeletal model of the lumbar spine to characterize manual patient-handling tasks.
Goderis, Derek Michigan State UniversityAI-Informed Balloon Quantum Demonstration MissionThe Balloon Quantum Demonstration Mission goal is secure sub-continental network coverage achieved via a balloon fleet with peer-to-peer communication. Un-informed experimental trials would entail both risk and expense. The student researcher at Michigan State University, working under mentorship from the mission team at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, develops a sophisticated Simulink model that incorporates all major design and alignment challenges. The project goals are (1) New Features in Kinematics and Control, whose Specific outcome is the full simulation of a realistic laser platform motoring system to enable size, weight, and power (SWaP) comparisons of potential hardware choices. (2) New High-level Artificial Intelligence Design, whose Specific outcome is the development of an efficient AI-based analysis of a multi-variable design and alignment parameter space. Beyond the immediate project goals, this is an step on the path to the creation of a “digital twin” for the Balloon Quantum Demonstration Mission project.
Harlow, BlakeHope CollegeStreamlining and Validating Algorithms for Constructing Digital Elevation Models of Lake Michigan Dune ImageryThe aim of this research is to continue the work made possible by my prior MSGC undergraduate fellowship award. We will carry on creating, streamlining, and analyzing models for topographical changes on Lake Michigan Dunes. We will use drone imagery collected in previous years and also continue collecting additional imagery. Using this data from various drone flights, we will analyze the locations with the most erosion and deposition in order to create an algorithm that can help predict future dynamics of the dune. To do this, we will use machine learning models that connect the elevation data with imagery data over the dune complex.
Hoogendam, WillemCalvin UniversityModeling Globular Clusters Once the archetype of a simple, homogeneous stellar population, globular clusters are now thought to have two or more different stellar populations distinguished by elemental differences. This research project will focus on writing code to model the dynamical and stellar evolution of these multiple populations and produce results readily comparable to ground-based observational data. Currently, there are gaps in the theoretical modeling of these populations, where either existing dynamical code focuses on only the innermost regions of the clusters where only space-based data can be compared to the simulations, or current evolution code is designed only for simple, single populations. The project seeks to address these gaps by creating new code to simulate larger radial ranges and multiple populations. Additionally, this code will be made publicly available to enable the advancement of the field as well as promote the scientific integrity of the code.
Iheme, OnyinyechiCalvin UniversitySediment characteristics of the upper units of landslide-prone bluffs along the Southwest shoreline of Lake MichiganDue to higher than normal Lake levels combined with intense wave action, there was immense coastal erosion at Lake Michigan during the last few years. If there is an upside to these events, it is that shoreline erosion reveals an inside look at the shoreline sediments along Lake Michigan. Understanding shoreline sediments is important because these landforms are vital assets to ecosystems and human developments on the coastline and represent significant investments. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), a geophysical tool for subsurface research, and accompanying sediment studies, will provide a noninvasive method to examine the sedimentary layers below the surface, which would give us an insight to the internal structure of coastal sediments, the erosional and depositional patterns, and a glimpse of past events that have shaped our coastlines. Understanding these geological layers will assist in preparation for the consequences that come with volatile lake levels associated with climate changes.
Jenkins, BenjaminGrand Valley State UniversityRevisiting the Facility Location Problem with DensitiesComputing an optimum distribution of locations to place communication hardware is known as the facility localization problem. However, solving the facility localization problem while optimally serving a varying population adds complexity to an already difficult constraint problem. To solve this problem, we propose a discrete Voronoi diagram-based method to solve the facility localization problem while taking into account the density of a population. This work supports NASA Objective 3.2 by potentially improving the placement of infrastructure, as the algorithm can be used for the locations of satellite communication devices, ensuring that the NASA Space Network is utilized in an optimal manner. It also furthers my personal interest in meaningful research and supports my eventual transition towards graduate school. It is expected that the final result of this project will be an algorithm that can efficiently solve the uncapacitated facility location problem with densities, and an informative visualization of the results.
Kowalski, JacobHope CollegeInvestigating Cinnamate Functionalized Liquid Crystal Oligomers for Facile Material Synthesis and AlignmentLiquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are materials that combine the property of molecular order with rubber elasticity. When aligned, this allows the materials to experience significant, reversible shape change under exposure to heat or light. Current methods for alignment are limited in the alignment pattern and shape complexity. A method for obtaining LCEs in any possible geometry with little to no restriction on alignment will enable further advancement of the field of programmable polymer materials. The approach of this project is to develop a technique for LCE alignment by incorporating UV light responsive constituents into the LCE that can align and crosslink the polymer chains. Cinnamate derivatives, a promising candidate, have been shown to influence low molecular weight LC alignment in display technology applications and to act as possible cross-linkers. If successful, knowledge from this work could give new options to create patterns in complex 2D and 3D structures.
Mandeville, JamesHope CollegeImproving Design Rules for Stable Halide Perovskite MaterialsHalide perovskites offer many exciting advances in the field of photovoltaic materials however the stability of the material is still in need of improvement. The stability of the material can be improved by adding an A-site organic spacer molecule between layers of the perovskite crystals. The research being done with the perovskite material is to expand the list of A-site spacer molecules that have been tested and to test the molecules over a wider range of conditions.
McLinden, MollyHope CollegeEcotoxicity of the Nanoparticle: Changes in the behavior and physiology of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) Anthropogenic activity is rapidly decreasing avian populations. This decline has a negative impact on the ecosystems these birds occupy as birds serve important roles as pollinators, seed dispersers, and controllers of insect populations. In an effort to understand a potential cause for this decline, the effects of nanoparticles on avian populations will be studied. Nanoparticles, especially Fe-nanoparticles, are found in industrial pollution. We are beginning to understand the negative consequences of exposure to nanoparticles in model organisms but no work has investigated whether nanoparticle exposure is linked to maladaptive behaviors or physiology in birds. A behavioral study will determine the consequences nanoparticles have on the house sparrow's anti-predator behavior. The data gathered from this study will be useful in determining the effects of nanoparticles on the ecosystem and aim to solve part of the puzzle as to the drastic decline in avian populations.
Molloy, AnnaHope CollegeSynthesis of nanomaterials for urea removal from aqueous solutions"Nanomaterials have a large variety of applications in the world, including water remediation. Particularly, nanostructures have shown potential in degradation of contaminants in waste-water​​. The reuse of waste-water is essential in maintaining adequate water supplies, especially in countries with a limited water supply. In this proposed project, multifunctional nanoparticle collectors will be synthesized, containing iron oxide (Fe3O4) and titanium dioxide (TiO2). These materials will be studied for applications in urea degradation, which would allow for the preservation of the high water content of urine. Chemical characterization will be used to correlate nanoparticle structure with overall functionality. Following, a nanotechnology-based filter will be developed and used to remove urea from aqueous solutions. Such filters may function in the reutilization of waste-water containing urea. "
Mullen, KristinaSaginaw Valley State UniversitySecuring web profile and data through typing patternSecurity remains a burning topic in academic research and within industry. Under the guidance of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS) professor Dr. Khandaker Abir Rahman, the goal of this project will be to explore typing pattern as a secondary layer of security within the username-password based web authentication. The system would capture the typing pattern (i.e. keystroke dynamics) of the user while they type their username and password combination. It would then compare this capture with their regular typing profile and this analysis would then determine if the user is granted or denied access to the web account. To test the effectiveness a web-based platform within a browser environment would be created, which integrates this proposed security measure. The performance will be measured by comparing the False Rejection Rate (FRR) and the Imposter Pass Rate (IPR) after performing both imposter and genuine authentication attempts on a large scale.
Pinto Reveggino, RenatoMichigan Technological UniversityMultiple Wavelength Measurements of Volcanic Ash Absorptivity and Single-Scattering AlbedoVolcanic Ash(VA), a typical mineral aerosol with highly region dependent effects; which are linked to the mineral composition of local magma. Mineral aerosols are known to be highly reflective and thus have a cooling impact by reflecting sunlight back to space. Fine VA can stay in the atmosphere for days after a volcanic eruption, affecting the climate, and sometimes posing health risks and aviation hazards. This study will focus on examining the optical properties of VA varieties from different parts of the americas. Most specifically their single-scattering albedo and absorption at 375, 405, 532, 450, 638nm in the visible spectrum. These results will be compared to the mineral composition of the VA samples to then find correlations about which minerals have the highest impact on VA absorption.
Porter, TristanHope CollegeSynthesis of ZnO and Fe2O3 nanomaterials as Antibacterial AgentNanomaterials such as Zinc Oxide and Iron(II) Oxide have been seen to be promising alternatives to traditional antibacterial agents. They have been observed to possess higher antibacterial activity due their high surface area correlating to more contact with harmful microorganisms. They have been shown to inhibit the growth of E. coli, L. monocytogenes, and S. enterica serovar, Enteritidis and many other bacterial strains. Relatively little studies however have examined the effects on bacteria when combining both FeO nanoparticles and ZnO nanoparticles. We hypothesize in doing so we will be able to produce an even more effective nanomaterial antibacterial agent. One specific benefit of the development of a more effective antibacterial agent is its potential ability to keep Astronauts on voyages saferer. The development of a virus on a spaceship is not only dangerous due to the relative difficulty of treatment, but also due to bacteria being more resistant in space.
Romano, GiulianoOakland UniversityStructural Modification of Subphthalocyanines as Fluorescence Probes for Real-time Tumor DetectionFluorescence imaging has a variety of biomedical applications, including the detection of cancer cells. Fluorescence of compounds with electronic absorption and emission in the near-infrared region (NIR; 700-900 nm) is optimal for imaging tissues in the body. Subphthalocyanines are a subclass of pyrrolic macrocycles that have many potential uses in fluorescence imaging. Modifications to the compound that push the emission spectra toward the NIR tend to decrease the biocompatibility that dictates cellular uptake. Herein, we propose modifying the structure of boron subphthalocyanines in such a way that allows for the creation of a compound that has fluorescence in the NIR as well as biocompatibility for uptake in cancer cells. Development of such a fluorescent probe has potential for rapid, mobile, real-time detection of cancer that would be valuable for application in space.
Romanski, AllisonGrand Valley State UniversityEvaluating Spatial and Temporal Water Quality Variability in the Grand River, Michigan Since the passage of the 1970’s water quality act, significant improvements have been made, however quantifying the amount of improvement has remained a challenge. The Water Quality Index (WQI) was introduced in the 1970s to communicate the quality of a body of water (Brown et al., 1970). Data collected or compiled will include biological species diversity and abundance, nutrient parameters, and other water quality parameters collected using a multiparameter sonde. Water samples and water quality data will be collected from the Grand River to quantify spatial and temporal variability of nutrients and water quality parameters. This project helps to advance and further knowledge of Earth as a system to meet challenges of environmental change, and to improve our life on our planet. Our project will accomplish this through sampling the Grand River, compiling and analyzing water quality data, and making this data available to the general public and river managers.
Shaw, RachelHope CollegeDetermination of the Bioavailability of Organic Nitrogen in the Decomposition of Peat Moss A MSGC Undergraduate Research Award would be utilized towards the funding of my student stipend during the course of a research project studying the bioavailability of organic nitrogen within Sphagnum mosses. I will be taking peat moss samples and analyzing changes in organic nitrogen bioavailability directly through observing changes in amino acid concentrations (indicative of organic nitrogen) and concentrations of ammonium and nitrate (indicative of inorganic nitrogen) within the soil of these moss samples. Observing these changes in concentration of nitrogen forms allows for an understanding of organic nitrogen bioavailability at differing stages of decomposition. We will utilize our data to create a proxy of organic nitrogen mineralization so that future samples will not need to be incubated for bioavailability to be determined. Such a project would also further my personal professional development through active participation in research and preparation for graduate school.
Sherrard, MorganHope CollegeChromatic contrast of avian plumage is altered in forests subjected to increased deer browsingThe efficacy of animal signals depend on their habitat and environment. Deer significantly impact habitat structures by consuming the underbrush where birds nest and seek food. An implication of this is that the propagation of communication signals changes, and this could potentially influence mating and breeding habitats of numerous species. Little is known on how drastically deer browsing affects the mating between brown-headed cowbirds. Chromatic contrast, which measures how much an object stands out from background, was used to determine if the effects of deer browsing were significant. We predicted that deer browsing would impact the reflectance and irradiance, and therefore increase the contrast of brown-headed cowbirds. In the future, we will look at different species of birds to determine if our results are generalizable across other species and if other features such as achromatic contrast are impacted by rates of deer browsing.
Spence, LiamUniversity of MichiganMiniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment (MiTEE) CubeSatPropellantless electric propulsion from electrodynamic tether (EDT) systems would revolutionize the capabilities of small satellite platforms; allowing them to perform complex orbital maneuvers that could fundamentally transform monitoring of natural disasters, space weather, and the broader space environment. The Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment (MiTEE) CubeSat team – a large, diverse team under Professor Brian Gilchrist and supported by the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) [1] – seeks to enable EDT propulsion systems on smallsats with the end goal of operating an EDT-enabled constellation of MiTEE picosats [2]. Over the past 3 years I have risen to the position of Mission Operations Manager for the MiTEE-1 CubeSat mission and am responsible for coordinating the mission-critical scientific operations over its lifetime. This proposal would allow me to continue to assist Professor Gilchrist’s research during the Summer of 2021 and support my career aspirations of advancing the science and technology of human space exploration.
Strach, ChloeMichigan Technological UniversityUnderstanding and predicting the fate of 1,4-dioxane in the aqueous phase UV/chloramine advanced oxidation processThe presence of anthropogenic organic contaminants in water presents challenges for ecological and water-energy infrastructure systems and human health. Advanced oxidation processes that generate highly reactive hydroxyl radicals at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure are attractive and promising because of their high reactivities with organic compounds. However, the non-selectivity of active radical species and complex radicals-involved reaction mechanisms make it difficult to understand and predict the fate of organic contaminants. In this proposed project, I will develop a mechanistic kinetic model that will predict the fate of 1,4-dioxane in an emerging ultraviolet combined with chloramine advanced oxidation process in the presence or absence of other water constituents. The predictive model can help design water reclamation systems in manmade spacecrafts and at the international space station.
Vance, WilliamHope College"Developing efficient code for computing spin-dependent Compton cross section in magnetar magnetospheres We have been developing analytics for the spin-dependent Compton cross section in strong magnetic fields present in magnetar magnetospheres. The cross section requires the spin-dependent widths or lifetimes of the excited intermediate virtual states of the electronic and positronic contributions. We propose to develop efficient C++ code to calculate the Compton cross section to build large tables of values or for direct use for Monte Carlo simulations of the emission from the magnetar magnetospheres. This requires the propagation of the soft thermal X-rays from the magnetar surface through the atmosphere. These photons then provide the seed photons for the up-scattering with accelerated electrons and positrons within the magnetosphere. The scattered photons may then pair produce, photon split, or escape to the observer at infinity. In addition, we will eventually have to consider the parallel transport of the Stokes parameters within the curved spacetime within the context of general relativity.

MSGC Graduate Fellowship Award Recipients

Addie, LeonaGrand Valley State UniversityLandscape Genetics of the Snowshoe Hare: Assessing Gene and Dispersal at a Southern Range BoundaryIncreased global average temperatures caused by climate change affects species distribution and population dynamics. Species at the southern range edge that exhibit seasonal color molts are particularly vulnerable to warming temperatures. Snowshoe hares molt from brown to white to blend into their surroundings in winter. Climate change has reduced the depth and duration of snow cover at the southern edge of snowshoe hare range. The result is camouflage mismatch leading to increased predation and localized extinctions. Analysis of landscape genetics will allow us to understand 1) population genetic health and 2) the dispersal ability between isolated populations. This understanding will aid in identifying limiting factors in snowshoe hare dispersal and assist managers in identifying habitat that could be improved to aid in successful dispersal between populations and suitable habitat. The proposed project supports NASA’s 2.2 objective to advance knowledge of the environmental challenges by examining a consequence of climate change.
Alger, JessicaMichigan Technological UniversityPromoting Green Space Equity in Urban Areas with Water Resources ChallengesUrban green spaces help to support human health and well-being, provide numerous environmental benefits and promote sustainability of urban areas. This study analyzes green spaces and income distribution in two cities with different water resources challenges and income disparities. The central research hypothesis is that urban green space inequities align with socioeconomic status, and addressing these inequities requires consideration of water supply and affordability issues. Two case studies will be analyzed: Detroit, Michigan and El Paso, Texas. Landsat 8 and National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery will be used to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to determine areas of green space in each city at the census tract level. Linear regression models weighted by population will be used to determine the relationship between area of green space and socioeconomic status, and recommendations will be made for green space development in underserved areas.
Badger Hanson, EllenWestern Michigan UniversityExploring the Effects of Prairie Restoration Size on Soil Microbial Communities and Soil Carbon StorageAgricultural ecosystems are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. One mitigation method involves integrating native prairie vegetation into agroecosystems. Unfortunately, these restored prairies often fall short of untouched remnant prairies where soil microbial community structure and soil carbon storage are concerned. Further study on the mechanisms behind these discrepancies is necessary to restore prairies more effectively for carbon storage. The proposed work will examine the effects of restoration size on soil microbial communities and soil carbon dynamics by comparing ten restored prairies in southwest Michigan. The goal in exploring these relationships is to shed more light on how large a restoration needs to be in order to store carbon efficiently. This would be valuable information for farmers making decisions about how best to allocate their resources to manage for both sustainable and profitable landscapes.
Bullen, DianaMichigan Technological UniversityUsing a Biologically Enhanced Silica Recovery System to Retrieve Valuable Non-Renewable Resources from Waste MaterialThis project proposes to test the concept of the newly developed strategy for processing the by-products of the stripping and refining processes used in mining. This strategy is called a Biologically Enhanced Silica Recovery System (BESRS). The BESRS will utilize the bacterium Paenibacillus polymyxa to alter the surface chemistry of quartz in a controlled tailings stream. This allows for the quartz to be easily recovered from lithium-bearing minerals through flotation. Both the recovered quartz and lithium-bearing minerals can be sold to the technology industry. While this concept works on paper, feasibility testing must be conducted to prove its legitimacy. Tests will be conducted in the Summer and Spring of 2021. The goal of the tests conducted is to ensure the P. polymyxa actually alters the desired surface characteristics of the biotreated particles.
Carr, RobertWayne State UniversityZowada Observatory Pipeline Optimization for Transient ObservationsDan Zowada Memorial Observatory was gifted to Wayne State University in August 2018. The fully robotic 20" telescope and imaging system are located in the dark skies of New Mexico. This research project will transition Zowada to science applications, in particular study of transient objects. I have completed development of a software suite for image reduction and alignment, and calculation of absolute photometry in g, r, i and z Sloan filters. My goal is to demonstrate capability of Zowada to observe also in u Sloan filter and achieve more sensitive measurements. My deliverables are important to WSU research into Active Galactic Nuclei and supernovae, and our participation in research partnerships. This research supports NASA priorities to "discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved..." My software and pipeline will expand Zowada’s capacity to "advance the Nation's STEM education... to engage students, teachers and faculty in NASA's mission."
Courtney, DeirdreWestern Michigan UniversityDeveloping Education Materials for Environmental Justice Outreach Initiatives Marginalized groups, such as People of Color and low-income individuals are disproportionately impacted by the negative consequences of environmental injustice (e.g. living near toxic waste sites, poor air, and water quality) and increasing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on their health and livelihoods. This is particularly true of inner-city urban and impoverishes rural communities in Michigan, who often face obstruction to involvement in necessary adaptation, resilience, and mitigation efforts. They are heavily overlooked by governmental assistance programs and are also largely ignored in the current environmental scholarly literature in the United States. As an elephant in the room, environmental justice is still largely overlooks in our K-12 curriculum. The purpose of this project is to conduct research and develop pilot lesson plans for high-school students using the Riverview Wellness site and other place-based case studies, using biophysical data from NASA integrated with socio-economic and environmental data.
Dugener, NateGrand Valley State UniversityOut of oxygen: Exploring the causes and consequences of bottom water hypoxia in a Great Lakes estuary using time-series measurements, observations, and modelingHypolimnetic hypoxia, or a decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) in bottom waters of lakes and oceans, is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is exacerbated by anthropogenic eutrophication and climate change. As the hypolimnion becomes anoxic, sediment-bound legacy phosphorus (P) is released. Harmful algal blooms follow mixing of the bottom and surface waters – driving a vicious cycle of eutrophication and hypoxia. Muskegon Lake is a model Great Lakes estuary where an observatory buoy ( has tracked fluctuating hypolimnetic hypoxia since 2011 along with meteorological and other water quality parameters. I will explore the causes and consequences of hypoxia through biweekly field measurements, time-series observatory data analysis and modeling the trends. Findings have bearing to similarly afflicted ecosystems such as Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, my research on hypoxia dynamics furthers our understanding of Earth’s changing ecosystems and addresses Objective 2.2 of the NASA Strategic Plan of 2014.
Foley, EllenGrand Valley State UniversityLake Responses to Elevated Levels of Chloride and PhosphorusRoad salt runoff from de-icing applications is increasingly impacting water quality around the globe. In lakes, excess salt concentrations can cause density gradients that may prevent them from mixing. If internal nutrient loading is also significant, extremely high phosphorus concentrations may accumulate in the bottom waters, representing an ecological threat if the lake should mix, either partially or totally. My research aims to understand the interaction of excess salt (chloride) and phosphorus in an urban eutrophic lake. Water quality data will be collected over the course of one year to analyze the physical and biogeochemical impacts of road salt runoff. An internal phosphorus loading study will also be conducted to assess how chloride affects sediment phosphorus release. The results from this research will be valuable for discerning the combined impacts of elevated chloride and phosphorus concentrations on freshwater systems and help inform management strategies for restoring impaired lakes.
Gannon, IanMichigan Technological UniversityCritical Mineral Potential in the Vulcan Quadrangle and Adjoining Areas, Dickinson County, Upper Peninsula of MichiganThe rocks in Dickinson County, Michigan are old, deformed, faulted, metamorphosed, and once covered by glaciers forming a complex system that hasn’t been thoroughly investigated since the 1950s. Since the United States Geological Survey has recently identified this region as an area with relatively high critical mineral resources, this region has gained more attention in recent years, both geologically and economically. Updating and adding to the existing geologic maps in this region will provide a current interpretation of the geology to gain a more robust understanding of the structures, metamorphism, and lithology that exists in this complex system. New and current technological advancements such as LiDAR, high-precision Global Positioning Units, and smart-phone applications will be implemented in field mapping with the ability to capture outcropping characteristics and features with the highest resolution available. A new geologic understanding in this region will provide value when exploring for critical mineral resources.
Howell, BrockMichigan Technological UniversityEffective Optimization of Groundwater Extraction Through the Development of Computational ToolsPumping aquifers reduces fluid pressures, most significantly around the well-screen, and consequently, alters the geochemical conditions such that the dissolved minerals precipitate and clog the well-screen, which, in turn, causes more pressure losses and more clogging, and so on. Conventional remedial practices to rehabilitate wells include costly and disruptive acid treatment(s). However, management tools for deciding when it is cost-effective to rehabilitate wells are lacking, yet are needed to optimize groundwater extraction and reduce energy consumption. Likewise, many well-field operations do not consider optimization of flowrates to minimize drawdowns, which would ultimately lead to lower energy costs and less mineral precipitation. Therefore, to improve life on our planet through more sustainable approaches to groundwater management, the development of computational tools that utilize field monitoring data in making strategic decisions for well-rehabilitation and minimizing drawdown will be essential for groundwater optimization and energy cost reduction now and in the future.
Klida, Ryan Michigan Technological UniversitySATELLIE BASED SYNTHETIC APERATURE RADAR (SAR) TECHNIQUES FOR EARTH DAM MONITORING AND FAILURE PREDICTIONAccording to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 2,100 U.S. dams are considered to be high-risk with an overall dam sector rating of a D (ASCE Infrastructure Report 2017). Within the next 5 years, 7 out of 10 dams will be more than 50 years old, highlighting the increasing risk with dam infrastructure. The ability to reduce dam associated risk has the ability to save lives and prevent billions of dollars in damages. Monitoring earth dams remotely could be one method to reduce dam failure risk. The proposed research focuses on assessing the potential for using satellite-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery for monitoring and identifying critical dam conditions based on time series displacement and moisture estimates. The proposed study area is the Edenville and Sanford dam of Michigan, which failed in May 2020. The research hopes to identify these dams as failure prone-prior to the failure.
Lyons, SavannahEastern Michigan UniversityIrradiation Source for Exoplanet Atmospheric Spectra (ISEAS)"The vast number of now known exoplanets makes it necessary to find ways to reduce the list of possible life sustaining planets for further study. The “Atmosphere in a Test Tube” (ATM_ITT) project is trying to do this in the laboratory by simulating the exoplanet atmospheric response to photosynthetic bacteria under irradiance conditions matching the planet’s host star. This project intends to begin the design and construction of a second generation ATM_ITT apparatus. This apparatus has several parts, including a chamber to hold photosynthetic bacteria and an irradiation source to illuminate the chamber. Our focus is on designing and building the irradiation source which consists of an interface of numerous LED lights with differing chromatic emissions controlled by software that allows for the tuning of each LED to match a variety of host stars.
Malsky, IsaacUniversity of MichiganSimulating the Photoevaporative Outflow of Metastable Helium in Sub-NeptunesHighly irradiated sub-Neptune mass exoplanets are some of the most abundant planets in the universe. However, these planets have no solar-system analogue and the nature of their formation is unknown. Through atmospheric characterization, we can better understand their current composition, and thus trace their evolution. One of the most promising techniques of atmospheric characterization is the observation of helium in the atmospheric outflows, but this has not yet been applied to sub-Neptunes. In this project, I will model how mass loss imprints on the high-resolution spectra of sub-Neptunes in order to understand how photoevaporation impacts their evolution. I will model the atmospheric dynamics of highly irradiated sub-Neptune mass planets in a fully 3D coupled photoionization hydrodynamics code. Constraining the helium abundance will break the degeneracy between escaping primordial envelope and other compositional scenarios and provide insight into the formation and evolution of Earth-like planets.
Mariscal, NoribethWayne State UniversityUsing Satellite Observations and an Earth System Model to Quantify the Impacts of Air Pollution and Meteorological Conditions on Ozone Air Quality in Metropolitan Detroit, MichiganWe propose to employ satellite observations and an advanced high-resolution chemical transport model, WRF-Chem (Weather Research and Forecasting coupled with Chemistry) to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic emissions and meteorological conditions on surface O3 levels over metropolitan Detroit for summertime in 2016. The results of the WRF-Chem model will be validated against O3 and O3 precursor observations from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument as well as NASA Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution observations. We will run a series of sensitivity simulations of the WRF-Chem model over metropolitan Detroit to isolate the effects of each sector emissions and meteorological conditions on surface level O3. This will allow us to quantify the effects of total and sector-based anthropogenic emissions and meteorological conditions on O3 over metropolitan Detroit, thus improving our fundamental understanding of O3 atmospheric chemistry associated with air pollution.
Markwardt, LarissaUniversity of MichiganFinding the Faintest Neptune Trojans with Shift and StackNeptune Trojans (NTs) are asteroids that orbit near the Neptune-Sun L4 or L5 Lagrange points. L5 NTs are currently poorly constrained due to the region’s overlap with an overwhelming number of stars in the Milky Way. However, the L5 region is starting to move out of this region, making a deep search possible. Further study of this population is important as its physical characteristics have implications for the formation and evolution of the Solar System, especially Neptune. Moreover, NTs are of particular interest to NASA with their goal to “advance scientific knowledge of the origin and history of the solar system”. NTs would also be good targets for a follow up mission to Lucy. We will conduct a deep survey for L5 NTs using the Shift-and-Stack technique. Our results will allow us to define a population model for NTs which will directly inform our understanding of the early Solar System.
Messina, DominicWayne State UniversitySafety Verification for Autonomous Agents with Vision-Based SensingTo advance the domain of cognition in machines, we propose a model predictive control-based method for collecting new information pertaining to uncertain conditions to verify postulates made regarding those conditions. We will specifically be simulating a robot equipped with image-based sensing exploring a virtual 3D environment with various objects which must be identified by the robot scattered about, and the robot is tasked with navigating the scene while gaining sensor measurements needed to distinguish the objects to the extent necessary to ensure safety. Through these simulations, we aim to cause the simulated robot to infer how it can distinguish an object when it is uncertain about identifying an object and to cause it to then take actions which help it to distinguish the object.
Mohrhardt, BenjaminMichigan Technological UniversityFate of Photo-viable Dissolved Free Amino Acids under Sunlight Irradiation in Natural Aquatic EnvironmentIn natural waters, dissolved free and combined amino acids are essential sources of dissolved organic nitrogen, provide the building blocks for protein synthesis and energy for microbial growth, and are the key component of a global nitrogen cycle. This study sheds light on understanding and predicting the fate of three photo-viable dissolved free amino acids under sunlit irradiation in natural aquatic environment. A bench-top laboratory experiment combined with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry will identify and quantify the time-dependent concentrations of free amino acids’ photodegradation products. The carbon- and nitrogen-mass balances and the quantification of ions and organic acids will help elucidate the major degradation pathways. We will integrate the experimental findings with a mechanistic kinetic model to predict the fate of free amino acids in the presence of surrogate and standard dissolved organic matter.
Moutard, DavidWayne State UniversityZowada Follow-up of DESI TransientsThe Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will begin collecting data in the near future. Using the spectra from DESI, the Time Domain Working Group will be able to detect transient astronomical events, such as supernovae (explosive death of stars) and tidal disruption events (stars being torn apart by tidal forces from a black hole). Since DESI only collects spectra, we will be following these transients up photometrically with the Zowada observatory. This provides a more complete picture of what is occurring with these events. The focus of this project is on tidal disruption events, since these events are very poorly understood. By studying tidal disruption events, we can better understand how supermassive black holes grow, as well as provide some constraints on the mass distribution of black holes in the universe. DESI will provide a spectrum, and paired with our photometry, we can glean a fuller understanding of these events.
Neff, AlexisGrand Valley State UniversityHabitat Use and Movement Patterns of Burbot (Lota lota) in the Grand River WatershedUnderstanding life-history strategies of species is important to recognize changes in behavior caused by anthropogenic effects, including warming water temperatures and altered flow regimes. Burbot are freshwater fish considered keystone predators. Similar to other non-game species, they are understudied and exhibit complex life-history strategies. Little research has been done on isolated river populations and understanding movement patterns and preferred habitat is important for management. Burbot require cold-water and often migrate to spawn, but there is a knowledge gap on movement in river systems. I propose to (i) determine presence/absence of burbot in tributaries in the lower Grand River and (ii) identify preferred habitat and movement patterns. This project fulfills NASA’s objective 2.2, to expand knowledge of burbot as warming water temperatures and altered flow regimes adversely affect this species, and objective 2.3, by combining eDNA analysis and occupancy modeling to create a novel technique for assessing the occurrence of burbot.
Nelson, KateMichigan Technological UniversityMeasuring CO2 fertilization of tropical forests from volcanic soil gas emissions using remote sensing: Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, Costa Rica Scientists have predicted that atmospheric CO2 concentrations will rise in the coming years, which has led them to investigate how ecosystems will adapt. Volcanic landscapes where CO2 is degassed through the soil provide a natural experiment to explore the effects of elevated CO2 emissions on tropical ecosystems at a scale which is not possible in an artificial setting. The proposed study is a continuation of a recent (Spring 2020) JPL spontaneous field campaign aimed at mapping CO2 flux at Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, Costa Rica. We will explore the link between vegetation health and extent and soil gas emissions as a validation for interpreting remote sensing products (e.g. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Enhanced Vegetation Index). The use of remote sensing provides the potential for mapping volcanically induced vegetation changes over vast areas around the world that are otherwise inaccessible and/or dangerous.
Nieman, KipWayne State UniversityData-Driven Model Predictive Control of Residual Stress in Powder Bed FusionNASA’s strategic plan involves expanding human presence in the solar system, including on Mars, but remote colonies will need the ability to be self-sufficient. This includes being able to manufacture high-quality parts. One method of accomplishing this could be powder bed fusion (PBF), which is an additive manufacturing technique that involves repeatedly and selectively melting layers using a laser in a powder bed. The resulting parts produced by PBF typically require energy-intensive heat treatment to relieve the residual stress that accumulates during manufacture, which would represent a barrier to operating PBF in space. To address this concern, we propose the development of a model predictive controller to explicitly minimize residual stress. Accomplishing this goal requires the creation of a high-fidelity PBF model, the training of a neural network reduced-order model for application in the controller, and the exploration of how to modify the neural network for new geometries.
Nold, NatalieMichigan Technological UniversityImproved Vaccine Production to Reduce Pandemic-Related Health RisksThe SARS-COV-2 pandemic has created health risks and caused delays for NASA's workforce. Creating a more efficient, adaptable vaccine production process will help vaccines for pandemics and other public health emergencies to reach the public faster and create a more stable supply. This will protect NASA's workforce to pursue space exploration research uninterrupted. We propose that continuous vaccine manufacturing will bring new vaccines to market faster and be more reliable than current batch processes. A key to making vaccines continuously is with aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS). This project will focus on one step in this continuous process, the concentration step before ATPS to reduce total volume, thus reducing overall costs. The performance of several membrane filters and optimization of process parameters will be compared to improve system robustness and product purity. Once the optimal membrane operation has been chosen, the concentration step will be incorporated into a continuous ATPS system.
O'Connor, KassidyMichigan Technological UniversityUsing Satellite Aperture Radar to Improve Wildfire-Causing Debris Flow Mapping on the West Coast With increasing global temperatures, wildfires will only become more common; having severe impacts on the environment, leading to deaths and economic losses. Wildfires leave vegetation scorched and soil more susceptible to infiltration which causes a high risk of wildfire caused debris flows. Pre and post-fire optical images have been utilized in models to create probability mapping of susceptible basins. Satellite Aperture Radar, a remote sensing technique which interprets surface characteristics, will be substituted into these models to improve the mapping of basins experiencing wildfires. SAR’s ability to distinguish between burn severity levels, and its weather-independent imaging creates an advantage over other optical models. SAR data will enable fast, accurate maps and data, which will be imperative to first responders and government agencies, allowing them to make timely and accurate plans for hazard mitigation.
Oleson, JonathanMichigan Technological UniversityA Machine Learning Model for Mechanics of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Space-Composite Materials"Experimental samples for Multi-walled Carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) contain billions of atoms and are, thus, inaccessible to atomic-physics-based models. Data-driven modeling could overcome this problem, but research in this area is somewhat lacking. The objective of the proposed research is to derive a novel machine learning model to accurately predict high-dimensional deformed configurations of MWCNTs discretized using millions of degrees of freedom and to increase computational efficiency over atomistic models by several orders of magnitude. This will be accomplished by formulating a dimension reduction technique for smooth surfaces of MWCNT and learning through Deep Neural Networks in this reduced dimension to predict deformation.
This research will be pursued as part of my Ph.D. dissertation effort in the department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University (MTU), under the guidance of Dr. Susanta Ghosh. The computational facilities and other necessities will primarily be provided through resources at MTU."
Petersen, MaggieGrand Valley State UniversityThe impact of microplastic ingestion on gut microbial communities and their downstream health effects in a freshwater fish speciesMicroplastics are a ubiquitous presence in the world’s aquatic environment and their threat to our natural resources is poorly understood. The Laurentian Great Lakes are one critical system affected by these pollutants. This system provides critical ecosystem services and economic opportunity for the region and understanding the impact microplastics have on these aquatic communities is vital. Once microplastics enter the aquatic environment, microbial biofilms form on the surface and toxic contaminants may be adsorbed; the impact of these pollutants on aquatic organisms is unclear. To address this, we will incubate microplastics in Muskegon Lake and evaluate how microplastic ingestion impacts the health of wild-caught yellow perch. We will examine the effects of microplastic ingestion on the fish gut microbial community, liver gene expression levels, and other health parameters to explore how contaminated microplastics impact this important Great Lakes species.
Shaw, EmilyMichigan Technological UniversityToxicity in Fish Tissue: Redefining our Understandings by Quantifying Mixture ToxicityIn the 1960s, Silent Spring warned the public about the environmental harms from industrial compounds, helping to develop a national consciousness about human impacts on the environment. Several policies were enacted, and emissions decreased. However, many compounds persist in the environment for decades (e.g., PCBs and mercury). Due to high rates of fish consumption, the primary exposure pathway, many tribal nations are burdened with increased exposure. To better protect human health, the objective of this work is to elucidate combined toxicity patterns associated with waterbody characteristics. Specifically, this research asks, what waterbody characteristics most significantly influence combined toxicity (e.g., the hazard quotient) of contaminants in fish? A primary outcome of this work is to quantify combined toxicity using a range of health endpoints. Calculated hazard quotients (HQ) will identify spatial patterns of combined toxicity to improve our understanding of how environmental and chemical conditions interact to affect toxicity.
Smith, ChristianWestern Michigan UniversityInvestigating urban convergence of airborne microbial communities on a continental scale It is well-established that microbes are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, yet our understanding of the microbial ecology of this environment is lacking. At the continental scale, convergence of ecological processes is a well-documented effect of urbanization. There are strong site-specific influences of urbanization on airborne bacterial communities, but the effects have not been quantified on a continental scale. This proposed study will examine triplicate airborne samples from two altitudes at sites in urban and rural locations in four biomes across the United States to address two hypotheses. Hypothesis one states that airborne microbial community composition will differ by biome over natural areas but will converge over urban areas. Hypothesis two states that near-surface airborne microbial communities will reflect site specific variation while higher-altitude airborne communities will reflect regional influences. I will use Qiime2 for sequence processing and will conduct downstream analysis using the “vegan” package which implements Phyloseq in R.
Studinger, AmandaMichigan Technological UniversityQuantum Chemical Assessment of the Complexation Competition of Small PAHs with a Coronene Substrate in the Interstellar MediumThe proven presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the interstellar medium provides for a rich ground of original theoretical investigations of how these molecules can act as substrates for various chemical reactions which could eventually lead to a fundamental understanding of the origin of Life on and outside Earth (Objective 1.6, 2014 NASA Strategic Plan). The quantitative determination of the energetic likelihood for the formation and stability of van der Waals PAH complexes will allow for the investigation of the embryonic stages of chemical mechanisms able to eventually lead to the formation of larger covalently bonded PAHs. The proposed research will also allow for the identification of quantitative energetic trends able to shed light into currently unknown molecular complexation mechanisms occurring on Earth such as atmospheric soot formation as a consequence of anthropogenic combustions (Objective 2.2 of 2014 NASA Strategic Plan).
Walt, JonathanGrand Valley State UniversityMapping the spread of invasive plants in Michigan wetlandsWetlands are vital to landscape functionality in Michigan and have a history of high disturbance from draining, development, invasion from non-native species, and climate change. This project will use freely available remote sensing tools to assess current extent of the invasive plants species Phragmites australis (common reed) and Typha angustifolia (cattail) and model future habitat suitability given projections of anthropogenic climate change. Using both synthetic aperture radar and multispectral satellite imagery, Phragmites and Typha spatial extent will be classified using the random forest algorithm, driven by field data collection in the summer of 2021. The model will use climate change projections and landscape characteristics derived from remotely sensed data to produce a suitable habitat map for the two invasive species in Michigan.
Wedig, Isaac Michigan Technological UniversityArm Cranking with Blood Flow Restriction; A Potential Exercise for use in Space?Exposure to microgravity has many negative effects on the human body including decreased muscle size, strength, and endurance. These negative effects can compromise astronaut health, safety, and productivity during long-duration space missions. Blood flow restriction exercise (BFR), which involves exercising with inflatable cuffs around the limbs, is an effective method to improve muscle size, strength, and endurance on Earth. Previous research on BFR has focused on lower-body exercise. Maintenance of upper-body strength and endurance is important for astronauts especially in microgravity environments where the lower-body is used less. My aim is to determine the effectiveness of a 6wk upper-body exercise program with BFR to improve arm muscle strength and endurance. These results will help develop more effective exercise programs for astronauts and allow for longer-duration human space missions in accordance with NASA’s strategic interests. This fellowship will help facilitate my long-term goals of becoming a scientist and professor.
Whitley, KevinUniversity of MichiganTime-Domain Signatures of Low-Mass-Ratio SMBH BinariesSupermassive Black Hole (SMBH) binaries are linked to a wide variety of astrophysical topics, from the emission of gravitational waves to the evolution both of SMBHs and the galaxies which host them. Despite this, these systems remain undetected at the close separations that would unambiguously indicate that SMBH mergers occur, a topic which remains a pressing question today. By simulating close-separation SMBH binaries for a wide range of binary parameters, I aim to open up new, time-domain methods which can be used to identify these elusive systems. These techniques can then be used in future observational missions to constrain the SMBH merger rate and thereby bolster our understanding of SMBH evolution and the expected detection rate of their gravitational wave emissions, which can be observed by pulsar timing arrays and the upcoming LISA mission.

HONES Award Recipients (HONES = Hands-On NASA-related Experiences for Student groups)

Group NameAffiliateTitle/CompetitionAbstract
GV Moon MinersGrand Valley State UniversityLunar Coring Device for Microgravity ChallengeThis project seeks to educate and train undergraduate engineers who are taking their Michigan State University (MSU) senior design project course to design and build a test facility that can evaluate simulated microgravity conditions on earth. The on-earth facility will be used to evaluate material flammability for in-space uses on future missions to the moon or Mars, or regularly on the ISS. To date, at MSU we have developed a simulated microgravity facility called the Narrow Channel Apparatus (NCA). This NCA was designed and constructed in 2000. Twenty years later NASA and the proposer have determined that variations of this apparatus are needed to examine the fuller complement of fire and flammability scenarios in space. Among these are the burning of hair, the burning of wire bundles, the burning of conduit (small enclosed spaces), and the burning of composites. A new apparatus is needed, which the current proposed project addresses.
BLUE ProgramUniversity of MichiganBX-4 Suborbital SpacecraftThe BLUE Program is a project group under SEDS that allows students to develop spacecraft and CubeSats. Our BX-4 spacecraft will be launched on MASA’s rocket in December of 2021. The spacecraft will deploy from the rocket at an altitude of 100 km to capture images and video of the rocket in space. The craft was designed during the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters as a senior design project. A summer team of 13 students is responsible for finalizing the spacecraft’s design, manufacturing components and assembling the spacecraft. We expect to spend $15,000 over Summer and Fall of 2021 on build supplies and flight hardware. We have secured $7,000 of this funding from the University of Michigan Space Institute and we are hoping to secure another $5,000 through MSGC’s HONES award.

NASA Internships

NameInstitution/NASA CenterInternship Position
Coury, CaylaMichigan State University/Goddard Space Flight CenterRoman Space Telescope Spacecraft Thermal Design - Virtual
Convertino, AnthonyUniversity of Michigan/HeadquartersInternational and Interagency Relations Project
Marathe, RutvikUniversity of Michigan/Glenn Research CenterTrajectory Visualization: NASA's Power and Propoulsion Element - Virtual

MSGC Research Seed Grant Recipients

Ayoobi, MohsenWayne State UniversitySyngas Characteristics for Application in Micro-Satellite Thrusters and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)With the increasing demands for cleaner power generation resources, it is important to explore the alternatives to conventional hydrocarbon fuels that meet such demands while maintaining the advantage of having high energy densities. Synthesized gas, also referred to as syngas, has a great potential to replace most of conventional fuels, providing high energy densities and considerably lower emission rates. It can be used in small-scale combustion-related devices, such as micro-satellite thrusters, micro-chemical reactors and sensors, or miniaturized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Syngas is commonly comprised of hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), and methane (CH4) and the composition of these constituents varies depending on the production process and feedstock. With various constituents having various burning characteristics, syngas combustion at micro scales becomes more complicated than that of conventional gaseous fuels at conventional scales. It is therefore highly important to understand syngas combustion characteristics at micro or meso scales.
Battistuzzi, Fabia UrsulaOakland UniversityEffects of microgravity on genomic variabilityMicrogravity studies are essential to understand how microorganisms change over time when exposed to environmental stresses during space missions. While previous studies have focused primarily on testing specific effects of microgravity (antibiotic resistance), we propose to determine the underlying evolutionary process of accumulations of mutations that leads to these changes. The proposed study will compare the patterns of accumulation of mutations (rate and location) between organisms grown at normal gravity and in simulated microgravity. Based on the neutral theory of evolution, we expect that these mutations will preferentially accumulate in neutral (non-functional) regions of the genome and at higher rate in microgravity-exposed bacteria. We will test these hypotheses using genome sequencing and growth rate measures to produce maps of the accumulation of genetic variability in genomes. This approach will enable better predictions of how genetic variability accumulated during space missions may lead to the emergence of new properties in bacteria.
CHOLIS, ILIASOakland UniversityCorrelations of Cosmic Ray Data in Search of Spectral FeaturesUsing recently released electron and positron high-energy cosmic-ray data, we will perform a power-spectrum analysis and develop a cross-correlation technique to search for spectral features in these data. Pulsars that are rapidly rotating neutron stars with strong magnetic fields have been invoked as sources of high-energy electrons and positrons. One prediction of that hypothesis is that the observed spectra should become increasingly bumpy at higher energies with features coinciding in the electron and positron energies. We will apply a power-spectrum analysis in those measurements and cross-correlate the electron and positron spectra to search for those features. In parallel, we will compute the expected theoretical predictions from galactic pulsars. This work is innovative as it proposes implementing two techniques never before used on cosmic-ray measurements, testing also a well-defined hypothesis; that pulsars are the dominant source of high-energy electrons and positrons.
Elinski, MeaganHope CollegeMultifaceted Surface Coatings from Composite Dry Lubrication SchemesMoving components on spacecraft, space suits, or exoskeletons depend on lubrication under demanding constraints. Further, the surfaces and interfaces of these moving components will need to be optimized for numerous purposes such as incorporating electronic or optical sensors, requiring multifaceted surface coatings. This necessitates space-compatible lubricants that deliver on mechanical performance and tailored electronic and optical properties. Lubricants comprised of nanomaterials develop protective solid films from shear stresses, but these solid films produced in-situ (during sliding) are still not well understood, both for their formation and any optoelectronic properties as coatings. Our work will focus on composite, nanomaterial-based, dry lubrication schemes to better understand film formation and successive mechanical, electronic, and optical properties. Using atomic force microscopy for precisely controlled sliding conditions, we will systematically study how surface roughness, chemistry, contact pressure, and temperature govern film formation and subsequent multifunctionality.
Fredericks, ErikGrand Valley State UniversityMinimizing Power Consumption of Run-Time Software Testing Strategies in Cyber-Physical SystemsCyber-physical systems (CPS), e.g. those embedded within spacecraft to provide required services, can be negatively impacted by run-time software engineering techniques intended to enhance assurance to the detriment of power consumption. For example, a run-time testing strategy that ensures a satellite continuously satisfies its key objectives requires additional processing cycles, thereby using an on-board power supply more than if no testing were to occur. The tradeoff in this case is that the system may adequately satisfy its key objectives (or use the information gained to adapt to resolve problems) but will exhaust the on-board power sooner. This project will establish GreenSE, an experimental testbed of heterogeneous devices for developing run-time assurance techniques with the specific focus of power consumption within CPSs. We contribute to NASA's mission by enhancing run-time assurance of CPSs and optimizing power consumption, thereby enabling NASA devices to satisfy key objectives for a longer period of time.
Khan, MohammadSaginaw Valley State UniversityElectromagnetic Detection of Failure in Electronic Interconnects: Reliability of Electrical Interconnects for Space VehiclesThe electric reliability of interconnects is of great importance, it ensures desired signal transmission between chips or circuits. Detecting faults, cracks and defects by images from Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Focused Ion Beam (FIB) are traditional methods. However, the process can introduce process-induced failure. The process can also be inconvenient to some extent for encapsulated structures. A possible alternative method for fault detection is electromagnetic method. To begin with the method, a simulation model for interconnects can estimate performance parameters such as insertion loss and return loss. A crack, partial crack or narrowing of the interconnects can manifest variation of loss parameters. This project intends to find a pattern of change in the loss estimates for the structural variation.Finally, this study explores robustness of interconnects in electronic circuits can be useful when the circuit is considered for space vehicles, commuting between earth and space, which experience extreme temperature excursion.
Mazumder, A K M MonayemSaginaw Valley State UniversityEmitting Electrodes Effect on a Two-Stage EHD Gas Pump with Uneven Applied Voltages Fluid flow driven by a two-stage electrohydrodynamic (EHD) gas pump will be critically examined by experiments and numerical simulations. The flow will be induced by pump with 24 emitting electrodes in two-stage charged at a combination of three different operating voltages (20 kV, 24 kV, and 28 kV). A numerical model will be developed based on the experimental study. The three-dimensional governing equations for the electric and flow fields will solve using the finite volume method. The EHD-induced flow will calculate first, and its results will be compared with the experimental data to validate the computational code. The numerical results enable vivid flow visualizations inside the channel, providing a great understanding of the development of the induced flow. The two-stage EHD gas pump, which can be produced and sustained air flows with a maximum volume flow rate will be considered more efficient when it is operated with uneven applied voltages.
Paheding, SidikeMichigan Technological UniversityMonitoring Martian landslides using deep learning and data fusionThe geologic inactivity of Mars has helped preserve numerous landslides throughout the planet. However, the studies on landslides triggering mechanisms on Mars are seriously hampered by the lack of sufficient terranean information for modeling. Moreover, previous studies of landslides on Mars have been limited to Valles Marineris, and it is found that massive landslides extend beyond Valles Marineris. To advance our knowledge of landslide triggering mechanics on Mars, we need to extend our studies beyond Valles Marineris. Besides, many existing studies on Martian landslides monitoring are based on a visual analysis-based approach, which is time-consuming and requires expert knowledge, thus an efficient approach is demanding. This study will aim to develop an automated mapping and classification framework for landslides on Mars using advanced deep learning and data fusion approaches. This itself is a significant step since no such attempt has been made yet for Martian landslide monitoring.
Thomas, DerekGrand Valley State UniversityUnderstanding the link between aggregation in spaceflight and biofilm formation in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicansSpaceflight reduces the human immune response and increases the potential for infection by opportunistic pathogens, such as Candida albicans. Candida infections now represent the third most frequent hospital acquired infection both in the US and worldwide. Such infections carry high morbidity and mortality rates and important economic repercussions. C. albicans exhibits different morphologies which facilitate its ability to cause biofilms, 3D communities of microbial cells that form on surfaces. Many humans carry Candida albicans and microbial contamination was common place on the International Space Station. Space alters gene expression in Candida and increases the expression of several genes that are associated with its disease-causing ability. Space influences Candida in a way that may enhance biofilm formation and biofilms appear to be fundamental to the ability to cause disease. This has major implications for IV use during space flight and relates to NASA strategic goals 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 2.2 and 2.4.
Vick-Majors, TristaMichigan Technological UniversityShining a light on habitability: biological and organic entrapment in freshwater iceFresh water is an important and widespread natural resource on Earth’s surface. Microorganisms play key roles in freshwater biogeochemical processes, which are mostly studied during summer. However, with more than half of Earth’s freshwater bodies subject to freezing, a complete picture of freshwater ecosystem processes necessitates study of ice-covered periods. Despite the importance of microorganisms and the widespread nature of ice covers, little is known about the mechanisms by which microorganisms interact with ice or the biosignatures they may impart to the freshwater ice matrix. The goals of this project are to determine: (1) whether microorganisms and metabolites can be detected in lake ice, and (2) how they differ from those in the water column. This work is relevant to the potential for and detection of life outside of Earth and knowledge of Earth as a system in NASA’s 2014 Strategic Plan.
Villa-Diaz, LuisOakland UniversityUse of Simulated Microgravity to determine molecular signaling enhancing self-renewal of pluripotent stem cellsOur goal is to elucidate molecular mechanisms regulating the basic properties of stem cells: the capacity to divide into identical daughter cells (self-renewal) and the potential to differentiate into specialized cells. This understanding will advance the use of stem cells in biomedical applications. With previous support from MSGC seed funding, we determined that simulated microgravity (SM) enhances the self-renewal of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Under SM and compared to 1g conditions, hPSCs show increased protein levels of transcription factors involved in self-renewal/pluripotency, and increased cell proliferation. When induced into differentiation under SM, hPSCs show decreased levels of differentiation compared to cells in 1g. These suggest that SM engages with molecular mechanisms that enhance self-renewal and proliferation of hPSCs. Here, we proposed to use RNA-seq and bioinformatics to elucidate them, and to leverage the self-renewal and proliferation effects of SM to increase the reprogramming efficiency of somatic cell into induced-hPSCs.
Yang, AnkunOakland UniversityDesign lithium-sulfur battery with high energy densitiesElectric vehicles and aircrafts based on rechargeable batteries have both high energy efficiency and low carbon emissions, compared to traditional gas-powered engines. However, to have more cargo spaces and long driving/flying ranges, rechargeable batteries with even higher energy densities are needed. This project aims to design lithium-sulfur battery with high energy densities for potential applications in electric vehicles and aircrafts. Lithium-sulfur batteries have a notably high theoretical gravimetric energy density, six times that of lithium-ion batteries. However, they suffer from many issues including limited sulfur loading and sluggish reaction kinetics due to their complex electrochemistry. Here we plan to design a three-dimensional PDMS-Ni composite electrode with high surface areas to increase the sulfur loading and improve the reaction kinetics, to fully exploit the energy density potential of lithium-sulfur batteries. This study will lead to an electrode design for future-generation lithium-sulfur batteries and a better fundamental understanding of the lithium-sulfur electrochemistry.
Yang, ZimingOakland UniversityReactivity and stability of amides in habitable hydrothermal environmentsDeep-ocean hydrothermal systems provide a habitable environment for life on Earth, where living organisms can survive in hot and pressurized aqueous environments because of the food and energy sources from the hydrothermal fluids. In the subsurface organic compound pool, amides are important because they are the building blocks of peptides and proteins, which are fundamental to biological metabolisms. We recently identified a new synthetic pathway for amides under hydrothermal conditions, which suggests a potential abiotic route for peptide bond synthesis on and beyond Earth. However, after synthesis, the reactivity and stability of amides in natural hydrothermal systems are not well known, and in particular, how minerals and metal ions control amide hydrothermal reactions is poorly understood. Therefore, we propose to investigate the roles of a few important dissolved metal ions in hydrothermal reactivity and stability of amides, with a goal of improving our understanding on amide hydrothermal chemistry.

MSGC PreCollege Program Award Recipients

EducatorInstitution or OrganizationTitleAbstract
Bowman, LukeMichigan Technological UniversityCareer Connection Explorations: Enriching Middle School STEM Curriculum Using NASA ResourcesThis proposal aims to provide equitable opportunities for middle school students to have immersive experiences that strengthen their interests in STEM-based careers through hands-on, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned experiential learning. The goal is to improve understanding of the Earth and highlight real-life examples of how professionals can address challenges related to changing environments. We will leverage our experience developing equitable middle school STEM-based lessons using NGSS, and remote learning options for Michigan school districts, to provide four Career Connection Explorations (CCEs) that raise awareness in all students and all learning environments of careers supported by NASA initiatives. Explorations include mini-investigations of NASA-themed scientific phenomena that integrate student understanding of NGSS with STEM career pathways. Additionally, this project supports the development of tailored professional learning and support to partner teachers in high-needs districts. The CCEs use NASA data and tools, demonstrating how real scientists solve problems.
Lindsay, HarrietEastern Michigan UniversityHigh School Summer Science Research Experience at Eastern Michigan UniversityThe Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Office of Undergraduate Research and Biology and Chemistry Department faculty developed a three-week high school summer research program. High school students completing at least one science class are eligible to apply. Students are admitted on a rolling basis and matched with faculty mentors by interests and students’ coursework. They are also partnered with EMU undergraduate mentors in the same lab. The faculty/undergraduate teams train the participants to work on an original research project. Participants present their results at a poster session on the program's last day. In summers of 2018 and 2019 we operated the program by charging fees to participate. Herein, we propose offering our program to low income, first generation, and underrepresented high school students with an interest in science by requesting funding for some program costs. This proposal was submitted and awarded last year, but the program was cancelled because of COVID-19.
Maas, SaraGrand Valley State UniversityScience Technology & Engineering Preview Summer Camp: STEPS Co-Pilot 2021STEPS is a camp that was adopted at Grand Valley State University to address the lack of diversity of engineers in the industries local to Grand Rapids. This lack of diversity is not a “local” issue, but a world-wide issue that requires focused and persistent attention to the next generations of professionals. Specific to NASA’s Strategic Goal 3: Attracting students to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, STEPS delivers a day camp experience that is engaging, challenging, and fun to ignite new interest in STEM and instill confidence in students. Delivering a curriculum through the lens of aviation, campers will learn new content, build projects, explore engineering and aviation careers, and connect with other peers and professionals. Intentional recruiting to low income school districts and to females ensures that the camp roster is diverse, and by offering full scholarships, the barrier of financial burden is removed.
McCullen, Megan Wayne State UniversityWSU Open House for Children with Incarcerated Family MembersThe College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Wayne State University will host a one-day Open House for local children with incarcerated family members. Working with local churches and youth organizations in Detroit, we will invite and transport youth to campus for a day of engagement and education. Incarceration has impacts on youth in families where it occurs, and we would like to share our resources with these families and encourage the development of a pipeline to higher education for them. This is a pilot project that will engage 80 students, and we anticipated continued programming following this event.
Pachla, KrisGrand Valley State UniversityEnergizing our WorldBuilding on the past successes and responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center proposes a hybrid learning experience for middle school students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) entitled “Energizing our World (EOW).” Past versions of EOW have included a 4-day-long in-person and a 2 week-long, remote learning experience. Due to uncertainties surrounding an in-person camp next summer, this RMSC proposal seeks funding to develop a set of curricular tools that can be used regardless of setting. These tools will be based on prior year hands-on modules and will be designed, tested, and revised with an iterative design process to create a toolkit, which will then be made available in an open-source setting for wide dissemination. Students will use these tools and each other to explore learning on renewable energy and sustainability in partnership with local businesses and community partners.
Thompkins, GeraldThe Engineering Society of DetroitGirls in Engineering AcademyThe Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) created by The Engineering Society of Detroit to be a hands-on, project-based pre-engineering program for underrepresented middle school girls from Detroit. The GEA is a four-week summer program, with an Academic Year component, that allows students to get an in-depth look at various engineering disciplines. During the program, students have the added benefit of small group interaction with female undergraduate engineering students, as instructors, and female engineers from industry who serve as role models. Students will participate in the design and launch of a drone. This project will expose students to both engineering and aeronautical concepts. They will learn about velocity, thrust, lift, force, gravity, and other related concepts. Students will also design and build the drone that will be able to simulate various space exploration applications and functionalities. The goal is to increase student access within the context of engineering and space science.

MSGC Public Outreach Award Recipients

EducatorInstitution or OrganizationTitleAbstract
LaPensee, ElizabethMichigan State UniversityAnishinaabe Star Knowledge Planetarium ShowThe Anishinaabe Star Knowledge Show is a Public Outreach project for the general public and K-12 students with an emphasis on Earth System Science. It takes the form of a 25-minute fulldome digital planetarium show and educator guide for distribution in planetariums across Michigan and the Great Lakes Region starting with Abrams Planetarium. Traditional Anishinaabe stories and contemporary insights about environmental changes brought on by climate change are related to Anishinaabe constellations and moons. Constellations overlaid in Anishinaabe Woodlands art are paired with photos. Voiceovers by Anishinaabe elders and fluent language speakers include both English and Anishinaabe language. Connections are drawn between erratic seasons and stories of the stars. The program aims to provide Indigenous elementary and middle school students with representation of their culture in STEM with an emphasis on science and also advance the education of elementary and middle school students in Michigan with respect for Indigenous knowledge.
Gipson, KarenGrand Valley State UniversityRoger That! A Celebration of Space ExplorationRoger That! is a celebration of space exploration named in honor of Roger B. Chaffee, a native Grand Rapidian who lost his life in the Apollo 1 fire. The two-day public symposium, organized by faculty at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in collaboration with staff at Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), directly supports NASA’s public outreach goals. Keynote and plenary speakers are featured at GVSU, along with presentations by local experts aimed at college students and the general public on scientific and societal considerations of space exploration. The symposium also includes a design challenge competition for 4th – 8th graders, K5 field trips, planetarium shows, and family-friendly activities at GRPM. The first Roger That! symposium was held in February 2017, and MSGC funding has been obtained for this event each year since. MSGC funding is sought again to continue offering this event on an annual basis.
van Dijk, DeannaCalvin UniversityReaching Students with Science at a Strategic Moment: The Appeal of Earth Science Research on Lake Michigan DunesThe First-Year Research in Earth Sciences (FYRES) project stimulates STEM literacy and interest by targeting students at two strategic intervals in their education pathways: the first months of undergraduate education and later in undergraduate education when students are exploring their commitment to a STEM discipline. Student participants engage in authentic geoscience research as they investigate questions focused on Lake Michigan coastal dunes. The process of learning about science by doing science includes communicating research results with scientists, dune managers, and the general public. Some FYRES participants go on to become scientifically-literate citizens who pursue vocations in business, humanities, education, etc., whereas other participants discover or confirm deeper interests in Earth sciences and other STEM disciplines. FYRES program adaptations to the global pandemic have opened longer-term possibilities for improving FYRES activities and outreach. Participant, research, and outreach outcomes represent NASA and MSGC strategic interests well.

MSGC Teacher Training Award Recipients

EducatorInstitution or OrganizationTitleAbstract
Hart-Jansma, CatherinePierce Cedar Creek InstituteElementary EngineeringElementary Engineering is a summer science professional development program for early childhood and elementary school teachers that will provide teachers with opportunities to learn about designing and facilitating engineering design activities in their early childhood and elementary classrooms. These sessions can be done as in-person trainings—if it is safe to do so—or as synchronous online trainings. The training sessions will be developed in spring 2021 and implemented in July 2021. If the pilot training is successful, further training could be offered to future cohorts of teachers.
Lioubimtseva, ElenaGrand Valley State UniversityMichigan Resources for Climate and Land Cover Change Education (MiRCLE): Vulnerability and EquityUrban poor, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized populations are disproportionally affected by impacts of climate change and extreme events, such as heat waves, floods, vector-and water-borne infections. These communities face critical barriers to involvement including historical disenfranchisement, as well as a sense that climate change is distant and not personally relevant. Choices about climate and land-use will continue define human vulnerability to the effects of climate change on health, safety, and livelihoods. Integration of these topics is often challenging for school teachers due to their complexity and interdisciplinary nature. The proposed project will expand on the MIRCLE materials for 6-12 grade science and social studies teachers developed by our team under this grant in 2020/21, to address vulnerability and equity. NASA LCLUC materials would be used to illustrate case studies in Michigan. Lesson plans will be created in correlation with MSS and the recently revised Social Studies Standards.

MSGC Multiple Educational Programs Award Recipients

EducatorInstitution or OrganizationTitleAbstract
Dummer, CarrieHope CollegeEngineering the Future AcademiesHope College’s Engineering the Future Academy provides local area students the opportunity to explore engineering design in a hands-on, problem solving context and professional development for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers. Sixty (60) fourth and fifth graders and 8 teachers will participate. Professional development will focus on inquiry-based methods related to multi-disciplinary engineering design experiences with the emphasis on building units of instruction that are transferable to the classroom. Supplies and equipment purchased for the camp activities will be transferred to the schools at the end of the summer. Camp fees are covered and transportation and meals provided for traditionally underserved students to facilitate their participation. Funding is requested under the Pre-College Education, Teacher Training, and Augmentation programs.
DeVillers, VirginiaPlainwell Aviation and STEM Academy (PASA)Take Wing and Fly "Teacher Training: Will enable the development and dissemination of a virtual PD module in Aerospace and Aviation for teachers in grades 4th-12th, Goal; Aerospace and Aviation history, the science of aviation, aviation aerodynamics, build rubberband powered airplanes, obtain sustained flight, collecting and analyzing data. If an actual flight is not possible, a virtual flight will also be provided.
Pre College STEM and informal PASA will aid the teachers in implementing curriculum into the classroom. . Students and teachers in this program will also be given flights in a small aircraft as part of the program.
Public Outreach: PASA would present to local organizations to promote STEM and Aviation while also representing NASA as an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador. Additional aviation-related classes for students interested in aerospace and aviation. PASA youth classes at the Plainwell Airport where STEM and aviation-related activities would be presented. This program could be extended to other geographic regions.
Ipri Brown, SusanHope CollegePreparing STEM TeachersPreparing STEM Teachers will increase the capacity to meet the quickly growing need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education teachers in the state. Specifically, attention will be given to providing pre-service teachers exposure to effective, inquiry-based techniques for working with diverse learners and students from a range of socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds. Empowering future STEM educators to combine best practices in inquiry-based learning as well as techniques for inspiring diverse learners to enter STEM fields will significantly impact multitudes of students across those teachers’ careers. This proposal seeks funding for pre-service teacher stipends, mentoring, evaluation, and materials to support our unique hands-on training in the context of Hope College’s Summer Science Camps. Complementing in-classroom learning, this impactful experiential learning immerses pre-service teachers in STEM classroom experiences and builds a pipeline of teachers that can inspire and mentor a diverse future workforce.
Webb, MariaDAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program)Galaxy Academy at the University of Michigan & DAPCEP Teacher Training"DAPCEP is a nonprofit organization providing educational experiences to more than 11,000 youth per year in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Our mission is to increase the number of students from racial and ethnic backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM who are motivated and academically prepared to pursue degrees and careers in STEM.

Continuation of Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) funding would be used for the virtual camp - Galaxy Academy - led by University of Michigan Ann Arbor (UMAA). Funds would also be used for our in-school program to train and prepare teachers within the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) to implement project-based coursework into their science curriculum. Galaxy Academy offers participants the opportunity to apply knowledge to challenges aimed at deepening understanding in the field of aerospace engineering. In-school teacher training equips DPSCD teachers with the tools and resources necessary to guide students to create science fair projects."

Industry Internships

De Urquidi, TomasUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Kessler, NicoleUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Lawson, BennettUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Long, CadeUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Monroe, RenUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Motheram, HimajaUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.
Newberry, JustinUniversity of Michigan/Orbital EffectsEngineering Intern supporting the research and development of the Company’s RADAR satellite technology.

MSGC Virtual Learning Program Award Recipients

Chambers, BrookeMichigan Science CenterMichigan Science Center’s ECHO Live! ProgramThis grant application seeks funding for the Michigan Science Center’s (MiSci) popular virtual science show, ECHO Live! The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) helped MiSci build this program for the first time last year after the outbreak of COVID-19, which forced us to close our museum for four months. MSGC’s grant helped MiSci reach over 229,000 people at home last year through ECHO Live! The program received national recognition on NBC Nightly News and won a Pinnacle Award as one of the world’s best virtual education programs. With the ongoing pandemic, schools are continuing virtual learning and MiSci needs the continued support from MSGC to ensure we can support students’ learning while at home.
Drumm, MelAnn Arbor Hands-On MuseumSoutheast Michigan Meets the SkyThe St. Clair County Community College in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum’s Unity in Learning initiative is opening a Challenger Center on their main campus in 2022. The Museum is under contract to operate the new center at their Experience Center, a STEM experience focused on engaging elementary school, middle school, and community college students. As the only Challenger Center in Michigan, we will engage students in a variety of missions tailored to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. Visitation is expected from eleven southeastern and thumb counties, along with Sarnia and Windsor.
Gochis, EmilyCopper Country ISD"Virtual GeoInvestigations – Using Great Lakes Coastlines as a Science Classroom in Virtual and Outdoor Settings This project will engage K-12 students, educators, and the broader public in the Western Upper Peninsula through place-based Virtual GeoInvestigations observing the natural phenomena and environmental issues along coastlines of Lake Superior and its watershed. A team of curriculum experts, community content experts, and teachers will partner to develop accessible field explorations supporting high-quality and meaningful distance learning through recorded videos, 360 images, and recommended virtual reality and outdoor activities. This is a joint project between the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Copper Country ISD, REMC1, Western UP MiSTEM Network, Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, and regional schools.
Thompkins, GeraldThe Engineering Society of DetroitThe Girls in Engineering Academy Virtual Learning ProgramThe Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) is sponsoring The Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA). GEA is a year-round program detailed by a four-week summer experience and an academic year program designed to engage a maximum of 90 middle school (6th – 8th grade) girls from the Detroit area in the promotion of STEM education through virtual learning. The goal of GEA is to prepare and encourage underrepresented minority middle school girls to enter high school and study STEM disciplines through virtual instruction and exposure to STEM industries and interactive experiences with female professionals. This program description is dedicated to the 2021-22 cohort (30-35 - 6th graders).
Winckowski, JohnathanBesser Museum Michigan Skies OnlineThe Besser Museum plans on using the Virtual Learning Grant for the purpose of expanding our digital presence and interaction with the local undeserved communities and schools. The Museum intends to do this by acquiring a Unistellar eVscope and an iPad to operate it, these tools will allow us to assist with NASA research, live online observing sessions, and work with local schools and the Alpena Community College, to setup their own astronomy research programs with the Museum.


The Michigan Space Grant Consortium is primarily funded through a NASA Training Grant.

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