Success Stories

Astrogeology Video by Kent Wagner

Check out this very well made video on astrogeology by 2012 NAU Space Grant Intern Kent Wagner!

Astrogeology 1963-2013: Fifty Years of Exploration from Kent Wagner on Vimeo.

John Zanazzi, 2009 Space Grant Intern

John Zanazzi, 2009 Space Grant Intern

John Zanazzi is a senior triple major in physics, astronomy, and math, and takes approximately 18 credit hours per semester and is involved in both the Society for Physics Students and the Astronomy Club.

Along with university research (including a 2009 NASA Space Grant internship), Zanazzi also took part in opportunities off campus through the National Science Foundation (NSF), which helped pave the way for his work with Research Experiences for Undergraduates. This program allows students to conduct research in their areas of interest at several different institutions over the summer. During three separate trips,...

Stargazer Program Opens New Horizons for Alaskan Student

Stargazer Program Opens New Horizons for Alaskan Student

Adam Nanouk travelled a great distance this summer--both physically and intellectually. His first trip away from his remote Alaskan village on the Bering Sea, took him all the way to Arizona to participate in Stargazer, a one-of-a-kind educational program for Native American high schoolers. Sponsored by the Space Grant Program at Northern Arizona University, Stargazer teams students with Ph.D. astronomers from Dinè (Tribal) College, Northern Arizona University, NASA scientists, and others, for an exciting week-long introduction to astronomy. News of Adam's acceptance to Stargazer stirred a great deal of excitement in his community--virtually everyone in the surrounding area attended his...

Gregory Mace, 2007 Space Grant Intern, 2008 NAU Grad

2007 NAU Space Grant Astronomy Intern Gregory Mace Takes Passion for Astronomy and Outreach to UCLA

While a student at NAU, Dr. Gregory Mace participated in two Space Grant Internships. He worked closely with Dr. Lisa Prato at Lowell Observatory to study young, low-mass stars. This work combined almost 20 years of astronomical observations and resulted in two published papers that reveal the gravitational interactions in two- and three-star systems.

Dr. Mace earned his Ph.D. from UC Los Angeles in 2014. As a member of the UCLA Infrared Laboratory he assembled, modified, and tested MOSFIRE (the Multi-Object Spectrometer for Infra-Red Exploration).

This state-of-the-art Cassegrain instrument on the Keck I telescope allows astronomers to observe up...

Joshua A. John, 2003 Space Grant Intern, 2005 NAU Grad

Joshua A. John, 2003 Space Grant Intern, 2005 NAU Grad

I currently work on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) program that is part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system that is a segment of the U.S. missile defense system. The EKV is a vehicle that is carried upon a Boeing built booster and launched to intercept incoming ballistic missiles against the US or its allies.  I am a team member on a group called the Operations Test and Evaluation team. Our main task is to plan, execute, and analyze tests that are associated with the development of the EKV and GMD system, primarily flight and ground tests. I started...

Mike Thomson, 2007 Space Grant Intern

Mike Thomson, 2007 Space Grant Intern

Mike Thomson, Space Grant Intern 2007-08, worked at General Dynamics C4 Systems until 2013 to help create the fastest military-grade data encryption devices in the world. During that time, he also attended Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which culminated with a Master's degree from Harvard. Mike is now pursuing a Ph.D. in computer architecture and embedded processing from the University of Texas at Austin. His academic research, with his advisor Dr. Derek Chiou, is currently focused on methods for achieving many orders of magnitude speedup in the simulation of complex microprocessors. This simulation speedup is obtained by developing a...

Eric Kiang Tse, 2001 Space Grant Intern, 2005 NAU Grad

Eric Kiang Tse, 2001 Space Grant Intern, 2005 NAU Grad

Former NASA Space Grant Intern Eric Kiang Tse became aware of the vast opportunities available to undergraduates through this program and engaged himself to build on his growing appreciation for the veracity of scientific investigation. He enthusiastically completed a search for Kuiper Belt Objects under the guidance of Dr. Andy Odell and presented results at the Colloquium for NASA Space Grant Interns in 2002. "To gain practical knowledge allowing for scientific contribution is one of the many, priceless benefits offered by this program". Upon graduation in 2005 he was offered an 'Accelerator Systems Operator' position at the Stanford Linear Accelerator...

Orianna Bretschger, 1999 Space Grant Intern, 1999 NAU Grad

Orianna Bretschger, 1999 Space Grant Intern, 1999 NAU Grad

Dr. Orianna Bretschger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbial and Environmental Genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), San Diego. She earned her B.S. in physics and astronomy from Northern Arizona University (1999), and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Southern California (2008).  Orianna began her professional career at Raytheon Missile Systems and transitioned to a research career in 2004.  Since then, Dr. Bretschger has been studying bacterial electron transfer mechanisms and how bacteria can be applied to engineered systems for optimized energy recovery from organic matter.  As a part of her research, Dr....

Jillian Urban, 2008 Space Grant Intern, 2009 NAU Grad

Jillian Urban, 2008 Space Grant Intern, 2009 NAU Grad

I am currently a PhD student in the Center for Injury Biomechanics at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences with Dr. Joel Stitzel.  I received a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Tech/Wake Forest University in May 2012.  My graduate research is primarily in understanding brain injury mechanisms.   The first part of this research focuses on the development of models of the brain and skull for use in predicting head injuries in car crashes.  A radiological analysis of head CT and MRI scans are used to quantify anatomical changes and develop a scalable finite element...

Erika Roesler, 2002 Space Grant Intern, 2004 NAU Grad

Erika Roesler, 2002 Space Grant Intern, 2004 NAU Grad

Erika Roesler, Space Grant Intern from 2002-2003, studied cometary photometry with Dr. David Schleicher of Lowell Observatory.  The internship gave Erika valuable experiences with observational astronomy, data analysis, and presenting research.  Following the internship and graduating from NAU, Erika continued her education and received a doctorate in Atmospheric Science from the University of Michigan.  Her research is constantly evolving and has included studying combustion, aerosols, cloud processes, the Arctic environment, and turbulence.  A future research direction includes high-resolution global climate modeling.  Erika is grateful for the lessons learned from the NASA Space Grant which laid positive foundations for developing good...