$478,000 grant funds Florida Tech undergraduate astronomy research

Supports undergraduate summer intern program

MELBOURNE, FLA. Florida Institute of Technology faculty members, Drs. Matt A. Wood and Terry Oswalt, received a $478,180 grant in support of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Intern Program. The funding is for four years.

The grant comes through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and the Department of Defense (DoD) ASSURE (Awards to Stimulate and Support Undergraduate Research Experiences) program. SARA brings in 11 to 12 talented undergraduates from around the country. They work one-on-one with faculty mentors from several of the eight SARA Consortium university members.

Interns work for a total of nine weeks. Their summers begin with a Florida Tech workshop, which introduces the students to each other and to the research project areas of their faculty mentors. The interns also participate in sessions, such as "On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research."

All interns travel to Arizona to observe on-site at the SARA 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. It is located 1.5 hours south-east of Tucson.

Back at their home institutions, the interns work full-time on their research projects, preparing for presentations at the second workshop which closes the program. At this meeting, interns present 15-minute formal talks describing their research efforts and results. They also attend the session, "Careers in Astronomy and Selecting the Best Graduate Program for You." Interns receive a $3600 stipend, and all travel and housing expenses.

This summer, Florida Tech is hosting three of the 11 REU interns. Cameron Teichgraeber from the University of California, Berkeley, and Shen Ge from Georgia Institute of Technology are working with Dr. Matt Wood. Undergraduate Valmin Miranda from the University of Puerto Rico is working with Dr. Todd Vaccaro, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics and Space Sciences.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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