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UD chemical engineering major Charles Jabbour, who received Delaware Space Grant funding for a 2017 research internship, presented a poster during the event.
UD chemical engineering major Charles Jabbour, who received Delaware Space Grant funding for a 2017 research internship, presented a poster during the recent DESGC symposium.

Delaware Space Grant Research Symposium

Photo by Kevin Quinlan

UD students and professors discuss research from the past year

University of Delaware undergraduate and graduate students, along with professors and researchers, made presentations on Friday, April 13 during the 12th annual Delaware Space Grant Consortium’s research symposium.

UD is the lead institution for the state Space Grant Consortium, which gets funding support from NASA, but the consortium also includes Delaware State, Wesley College, all four campuses of Delaware Technical Community College and Wilmington University. This year’s symposium was hosted by DESGC Associate Director and Delaware State Professor Hacene Boukari at Delaware State University in Dover.

The symposium is designed to highlight research work being done by Delaware students with funding support from NASA under the Space Grant. Students discussed their research or displayed posters illustrating their efforts.

Approximately 75 people attended the symposium. Research talks were presented by graduate students from Delaware State University, UD’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UD’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Wesley College, and by undergraduate researchers from UD’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and Wesley College.

Talks were also presented by Sokratis Makrogiannis, associate professor of mathematical sciences at Delaware State University; Megan Killian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UD, and Matthew Bobrowsky, director of special programs at Delaware State University.

Four high school teachers from Newark, shared their experiences from the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) they attended earlier this year. That group includes Julia Dooley, advanced academics teacher at Smith Elementary; Tara Lynch, enrichment teacher at Gallaher Elementary; Jenny Rovner, advanced academics program teacher at Wilson Elementary; and Nancy Ventresca, advanced academics teacher at Marshall Elementary.

The research symposium is one of numerous activities sponsored by the DESGC. The director of DESGC is the Unidel Professor of Physics and Astronomy, William Matthaeus. The Space Grant Office is on the second floor of Sharp Lab on the UD campus.  

NASA’s Space Grant program was started by congressional mandate in 1989 in order to ensure that NASA would continue to have access to a well-trained workforce of US citizens in the areas of interest to the agency’s missions.  These areas include science, technology, engineering, mathematics - the so-called STEM fields.

Each year since 1989, congress has appropriated up to $40 million per year to NASA to administer the national Space Grant program. Within each state, a consortium of colleges, universities, and industrial partners collaborate to award fellowships, scholarships, and internships to deserving graduate and undergraduate students in the STEM areas.  Space Grant funds are also used for in-service training of pre-college STEM teachers.

U.S. citizens at any of these institutions are eligible to apply once every year for three types of funding:  graduate fellowships (including a stipend of $27,600 per year), undergraduate tuition scholarships (up to $5,000 per year), and summer research internships (up to $4,000 on campus, and $6,000 at one of the 10 NASA Field Centers which are spread across the country).  During the current year, consortium funds are supporting 7 graduate fellows, 11 undergraduate tuition scholars, 16 undergraduate summer researchers, and 5 workshop participants.

Announcements of opportunities for fellowships, scholarships, and internships are circulated to all affiliates of the consortium in December-March each year.  Information about Space Grant opportunities is available at www.delspace.org, www.facebook.com/desgc, and informational flyers circulated throughout the state via an affiliate representative on each campus. On the UD campus, information can be obtained from members of the DESGC Advisory Group, including faculty members in the Colleges of Engineering (Prof. Bingqing Wei, mechanical engineering); Earth, Ocean, and Environment (Prof. Xiao-Hai Yan); and Arts and Sciences (Prof. Tracy DeLiberty, geography; and Profs. James MacDonald, Michael A. Shay, and Harry L. Shipman, all in physics and astronomy.

For further information about NASA’s Space Grant program in the state of Delaware, contact Cathy Cathell in the consortium office, Room 212 of Sharp Laboratory on the UD campus in Newark, by email desgc@bartol.udel.edu or telephone 302-831-1094.

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