NAU Space Grant Success Stories
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...Read More
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...Read More
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....Read More
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.
Erika is currently a Postdoctoral Appointee in the Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences Department at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. Her research is in the field of atmospheric modeling. Her current research tools include large eddy simulations to test microphysics and turbulence parameterizations; uncertainty quantification software...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More