2010 Student Fellowship Recipients
College of Saint Mary
Emily E Duval Carmenaty is a student at the College of Saint Mary. Her major is in Biology with a Spanish minor. I come from a small family in Caguas, Puerto Rico. She plans are to become a Forensic Pathologist and do research in chemistry, viruses, fungi and bacteria.
Alex Egentowich currently attends the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, NE. She is a second year student double majoring in Biology and Chemistry. A fellowship from NASA Nebraska Space Grant allows Alex to work with her faculty mentor Dr. Brena Mauck to develop chemistry labs using Vernier probes. The probes will be used to enhance education of healthcare systems.
Chelsea Dean is an undergraduate student at College of Saint Mary. She is majoring in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Spanish. Dean is currently a Marie Curie Scholar, Mother Leo Gallagher Scholar, American Legion Scholar and an INBRE Scholar. After graduating from College of Saint Mary she plans to continue her education.
Carolyn Behney graduated with her associates in science in the nursing field in the summer of 2009. She has also received the Marie Curie scholarship. Currently she is studying chemistry and biology.
Jami Mitchell is a senior at College of Saint Mary majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Biology. Mitchell is a Marie Curie Scholarship recipient. Her current research project focuses on lipid peroxidation and the formation of toxic reactive aldehyde products. Upon graduation, she would like to earn her Ph.D. in Chemistry. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, equestrian activities and golf.
Ashley Belmudez-Frakes is an undergraduate student at College of Saint Mary and majoring in Biology and Chemistry (Pre-med). She always had an interest for science and loves research. She is also a part of the Green Team and Math and Science Club at College of Saint Mary. Currently, Ashley, is a volunteer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity research. After she graduates she plans on pursuing further research in Genetics and Biochemistry.
Little Priest Tribal College
Brandon LaMere is a freshman at little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, NE. He is currently studying for degrees in Environmental Studies and Health. He is planning on pursuing his Ph. D in Biological Systems Engineering. Brandon also has a Culinary Arts degree and is currently an intern through the INBRE program researching Sclerology, Iridology and Aura Imaging.
Willy "Masja Mani" Bass, is a member of the Bear Clan of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. He is currently enrolled as a sophomore at Little Priest Tribal College and is pursuing his Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Education. Upon graduation from Little Priest, he plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he will be pursuing his Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies. His long-term goal is to return to his hometown and become an educator to the younger generations. At the same time, he intends to uphold the tradition and customs of the Winnebago Tribe and promote the cultural differences outside reservation life. This, he believes, will well-prepare the younger generations for their career goals.
My Soul Earth Kearnes is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. She will be graduating with her Associates of Science in Business Administration. She plans to attend University of Nebraska at Omaha this coming Fall semester.
Chadron State College
Jennifer Balmat is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Geoscience Education at Chadron State College under advisor Dr. Mike Leite. She currently works in the Department of Physical and Life Sciences as a graduate assistant teaching Earth Science. Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science with an emphasis in Geoscience from Chadron State College in 2008. Her current research interests include the structural geology and tectonic geomorphology of the Pine Ridge region of Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Jennifer was awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship to investigate and map faults in northwestern Nebraska.
Joseph Reedy Joseph Reedy is working to earn a Bachelor's degree in Geology with a minor in Water Resources at Chadron State College. Through a NASA Nebraska Space Grant, Joseph will be studying the discharge of groundwater into streams of the Chadron, NE area. The project will rely on NASA remote sensing satellites to collect essential data about the Earth’s natural systems.
Erica Colbert was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She is currently a senior working towards a major in Human Biology and a minor in Chemistry at Chadron State College. Upon graduating from CSC, she hopes to attend medical school and achieve her goal of becoming a general surgeon. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, mountain biking, running, and playing racquetball.
Kodi Young is a graduate student at Chadron State College. She received her bachelor's degree in science education and is currently working on a Master of Education in Geoscience. She is teaching Physics II Lab as part of her graduate assistantship. While not in class, she works on her research which focuses on geomorphology of the Pine Ridge.
Trevor Torpin is a Physics graduate student at Creighton University. He received his Bachelors of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Doane College in May of 2009. He began his research into dark matter with Dr. Gintaras Duda in December of 2009. His current research deals with Universal Extra Dimensions dark matter theories and reconciling them with the 2009 CDMS II experiment results. After graduating this year, Trevor would like to eventually work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Tim Nendick is a sophomore at Creighton University pursing an Atmospheric Sciences major and a Mathematics minor, following a passion in weather that stems from his earliest days. Following graduation, he plans to continue research in graduate school, working towards a career in academia. Outside of academics, he is actively involved in social justice activities through Creighton's Center for Service and Justice and as a resident of the service living-learning community, the Cortina Community. He enjoys photography, fly-fishing, writing, and spontaneity.
Zach Stewart is a senior biology major at Creighton University and is also pursuing a minor in international relations. He has conducted biological research on Simullids with genetics professor, Dr. Charles Brockhouse for the last two years. His current study looks to identify a high molecular weight protein marker to create a test to better study the bighting activity of Simullids and their transmittance of river blindness. Previously, he studied malaria at the international center of insect physiology and ecology in Mbita, Kenya and was awarded the John Chrystal award by The World Food Prize for his research.
John Olley is a senior biology major at Creighton University and has been conducting biomedical research under Drs. Philip Brauer and Mark Reedy at Creighton University for nearly two years. His work is concerned with the teratogenic effects of low doses of nicotine on avian embryo development and identifying organs susceptible to nicotine exposure. John intends to pursue a Ph.D. in biological oceanography at either Scripps Institution of Oceanography or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
David Austerberry is a sophomore majoring in physics at Creighton University. He began researching broad absorption-line quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey with Dr. Gabel in the summer of 2009. His current research involves the development and integration of cosmic ray detector systems for the Cosmic Ray Observatory Project. He enjoys astronomy, rocketry, and playing the cello. David aspires to work in lunar and planetary exploration missions.
Nicholas Stukel is a Pre-Medical sophomore at Creighton University. He is currently working with electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL) techniques to determine the amount of analyte in a solution; this can eventually be applied toward new methods of glucose-level detection in blood. Following graduation, he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in Cardiology. Outside of academics, Nicholas is actively involved in leadership roles at Creighton, including a campus-wide executive position in Creighton's Inter Residence Hall Government. He is also a member of Creighton's sophomore service living-learning community, the Cortina Community. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, travelling, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family.
Laura Anderson, a native of Chicago, is a sophomore at Creighton University. She currently works on Microfluidic Biosensor research for Dr Erin Gross. After she graduates with a degree in Chemistry, she hopes to enter the cosmetic industry.
Kayla Peltz is from Loveland, Colorado. She is currently attending Hastings College where she is majoring in physics. At Hastings College she enjoys playing on the school softball team. After graduating, Peltz hopes to attend graduate school for Atmospheric Science.
Tyler Bartsch I grew up in Louisville Colorado and went to Monarch High School. Now I am a Senior Physics Major at Hastings College in Hastings Nebraska. Ever since I was little I have always been interested in mathematics and puzzles, but I didn't become interested in physics and engineering until my senior year in high school. Now I am a NASA Space Grant Fellow and hope to further my education in engineering.
Nebraska Indian Community College
Carly DeBilzan is a student at the Nebraska Indian Community College in South Sioux City Nebraska. She is currently studying for my AA in Business administration and will graduate in the spring of 2010 and is planning on pursuing her Bachelors degree. Carly is participating in soil and water testing and finds it very interesting. She is very excited to learn more about this process and all the findings.
Troy Munhofen is in his final year at NICC. He will be graduating in the spring of 2010 with degrees in Business Administration and Natural Resources. He plans to further his education at Bellevue, Wayne State, or South Dakota University in the fall of 2010. The summer of 2009, he spent 10 weeks at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in the REU Program (Research Experience for Undergraduates: Assessment and Sustainable Management of Ecosystem Services). The focus of the program was on field-based research in areas ranging from water quality to the ecology of the Ozarks. He is hoping to use his education and experiences to obtain a career with a State, Tribal, or Federal government agency.
University of Nebraska - Kearney
Jeremy Stromer is currently a junior at UNK and is majoring in both Physics and Math. He is currently conducting further research on liquid crystals with Dr. Liubov Kreminska. After UNK, he would like to continue his education in graduate school for physics.
Bobbi Arnold is a senior at UNK and plans to continue on to graduate school and earn a Ph.D. Bobbi is currently working with Dr.Liubov Kreminska using a polarizer to test liquid crystals. When Bobbi is not in school she enjoys music, sports, and reading.
Joshua Beck is a senior at UNK and is majoring in physics. Joshua is doing a research project in testing the efficiency of polarizers created using lyotropic chromonic liquid crystals with Dr. Liubov Kreminska. He graduated from high school in 2006 from Araphoe High School in Arapahoe, NE. After college, Joshua will pursue a Ph.D. in physics.
Greg Schwanke graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with endorsements in English, Journalism, and Coaching in May of 2007 from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Currently, he is a graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney getting his masters in Instructional Technology and an information technology endorsement.
Riley Howsden is currently finishing up his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He plans to continue onward with his education and receive a Ph.D. Although he has not specifically chosen his specialization within the field of physics, he is deeply interested in the subjects of superconductivity and metamaterials, which are sub-fields of Condensed Matter. Currently, Riley is working on configuring the laser system for an apparatus used to analyze spin-polarized electrons. Beyond school, Riley enjoys playing guitar, reading about new findings within the scientific community, and doing various problems within Physics.
Nick Volpe is currently a junior at UNK and is majoring in Geographical Information Science. He is currently conducting research with Dr. Vijendra Boken estimating evapotranspiration with satellite imagery. After UNK, he plans to continue studying geography in graduate school.
Charles Sepers is currently a Junior double majoring in Psychology and Exercise Science. Research interests include behavior change in overweight and obese populations. Research experience includes examining parental mediation in childhood obesity interventions as a 2009 Undergraduate Research Fellow, examining yield characteristics of dry land corn based on evapotranspiration as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow, and is in the initial planning phase of a community level, adult physical activity intervention program as a 2010 Summer Student Researcher. When not doing coursework or research, Charles is active on campus through Psi Chi Psychology Honorary Society, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and Campus Kitchen. Future plans include earning a PhD in Social Psychology.
Jamie Stroup is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska Kearney. She is currently a junior majoring in Geography with a minor in Environmental Sciences. Jamie is involved in a research project with Dr. Vijendra Boken on estimating corn yield using evapotranspiration and land surface temperature.
Western Nebraska Community College
Jonathan Spurgeon graduated from Western Nebraska Community College with an Associate of Science degree in Physics. He is continuing studies at WNCC and plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. His work in astronomy involves imaging of deep-sky objects and processing data from the objects to be used in cosmology calculations.
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Eric Cutler is currently a Master’s degree student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical from that same institution in 2009. His current work is being done under advisor Linxia Gu and focuses on the research areas of biomechanics and hemodynamics. Eric is engaged in a Space Grant funded research project exploring the effects of astronaut decompression on cardiovascular health.
Brian Neilson is working towards a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, he completed field work at the UNL Haskell Agricultural Laboratory in Concord for the Propane Weed Flaming Project. The goal of this project is to provide weed control for organic farmers through the use of propane torches that pass between the crop rows. Brian’s project aims to combine flaming with mechanical cultivation for complete weed control in agriculture.
Lauren Roth is a Junior Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. With the financial support of the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, she is doing research under advisor Dr. Shane Farritor in the Advanced Surgical Technologies Lab at UNL. She is researching the development of surgical robots that are capable of minimally invasive surgery.
Megan Vokal is a sophomore Computer Science major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently sponsored by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant to work on extracting aerosol data from satellite images using C code for Dr. Jun Wang.
David Anthony graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He then spent three years as a software engineer at Garmin International. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science from UNL. He researches wireless sensor networks in the Cyber-Physical Networking Lab under Dr. Mehmet Can Vuran. David works with the Platte River Whooping Crane Trust to track whooping cranes throughout their migration.
Allison Mettler is a junior Biological Systems Engineer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a member of the University Honors Program and is also involved in several organizations on campus, including the Society of Women Engineers, Tau Beta Pi and Husker Cats. She volunteers weekly at the local hospital and is an active participant in intramural sports. Allison first became interested in research through a program funded by the National Science Foundation in Theoretical Ecology. She is currently doing research on training techniques and skills assessment for minimally invasive surgery using miniature robots and traditional techniques under advisor Dr. Shane Farritor.
Eric Markvicka is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was a summer intern at Honeybee Robotics in New York, New York in 2008 and JPL in Pasadena, California in 2009 as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant recipient. He was also selected as a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow for the spring semester of 2010. He is currently doing research under advisor Dr. Shane Farritor in the Advanced Surgical Technologies Lab at UNL developing surgical robots that are capable of minimally invasive surgery. Markvicka has received a NASA Nebraska Space Grant to participate in the 2010 Johnson Space Center summer intern program.
Eric Holt received his Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri in 2008. Also in 2008, Eric interned at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he studied the statistical relationships between Arctic sea ice coverage and cloud cover. Currently a 2nd year graduate student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Eric is pursuing his Master's Degree in Meteorology/Climatology, and plans to graduate in 2010. He is studying climatological behavoirs/trends of wind that is harvestable for energy use. Eric plans to have a career as a meteorologist in the wind energy field.
Nate Otten is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the summer of 2009 he interned at Honeybee Robotics, a small aerospace mechanisms corporation in Manhattan, New York. In 2010 he spent the summer as a student intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. At UNL he works as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Shane Farritor in the Advanced Surgical Technologies Lab, focusing on the development of miniature surgical robots.
Maria Becker is a senior Physics major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her interest in science began in childhood with wonder and curiosity about the things that surrounded her in nature, especially the stars in the sky. In exploring and studying various topics in science she became increasingly interested in the workings of the natural world at the most basic level. She is now pursuing a career in High Energy Physics, which studies the most fundamental constituents of matter and the forces that govern their interactions. At UNL Maria is currently involved in a particle astrophysics experiment at the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina, which seeks to understand the nature and origin of the highest energy cosmic rays. Her research, which is supported by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant program, will result in accurate energy measurements of the cosmic rays under investigation. Maria is a member of the American Physical Society (APS) and the UNL chapter of the Society of Physics Students. Maria recently served as co-chair for UNL's first ever Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, which attracted over 70 students from all over the United States and Puerto Rico; she was also an invited speaker for this event. Maria is also serving her third season as Team Captain and Club President for the UNL Women's Ice Hockey Club. Her other interests include running, playing guitar, reading, and enjoying the great outdoors.
Nick Kleinschmit is currently a graduate student in the Engineering Mechanics department at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he recently graduated with his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He is currently researching shock tubes under Dr. Ruqiang Feng. Besides engineering, he enjoys spending time outdoors hunting, hiking, camping, and traveling. In the spring of 2009 he participated in the reduced gravity program which was funded through NASA. He also had internships at Lincoln Composites which manufactures composite pressure vessels and at Kolberg-Pioneer Inc. which manufactures aggregate processing equipment. He also worked at the Swedish Institute of Composites during a six week study abroad program which was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Tyler Wortman received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in May 2009 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering under advisor Dr. Shane Farritor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research interests are in the development and application of surgical robots capable of minimally invasive surgery. Tyler is participating in the 2010 NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Summer Internship sponsored by the Nebraska Space Grant.
Andrea Gilkey completed a Bachelor of Science degree in biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) this past May. She has previously interned at NASA Johnson Space Center in the anthropometry and biomechanics facility and participated in UNL’s Microgravity University program. This summer she will be interning at NASA Ames Research Center in the NASA Academy program on an intelligent spacecraft interface systems research project. She will be traveling on the weekends to various NASA centers and aerospace industries for leadership training activities through NASA Academy as well. In the fall she will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate studies in aeronautics and astronautics.
Maurice D. Cavitt is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Department of Industrial and Management System Engineering (IMSE). This is his second semester at UNL as a doctoral student. Maurice holds a B.S.E.E. degree from the Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located 45 miles outside of Houston, Texas. Maurice research focus is in the area of RFID and logistics technologies. Maurice mentioned that he enjoy working with Dr. Erick C. Jones with RFID research along with other research Dr. Jones is involved in. In addition, he mentioned working with other faculty and students in different areas of research is a great learning experience for him as well. One of the major projects Maurice is involved in is "RFID and RTLS for Inventory Management and Logistics of Space Transportation Systems". This project focuses on identifying basic needs for RFID and RTLS from NASA JSC for the ISS, HABITAT, and Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). Outside of school, Maurice enjoys traveling, reading, learning new things outside of engineering, basketball and spending time with family and friends.
Khoa Chu is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For the past two years, he has had the privilege of researching with Dr. Carl Nelson, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, on a research project titled "Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robot for Space Applications" in the Applied Mechanisms & Design Laboratory. This last summer Mr. Chu continued his research as a second year Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) student, and the highlight of his summer was building a prototype of the modular robot he worked on over the past two years. In addition to the research experience, Khoa is also a Ronald E. McNair scholar and has been involved in several different student organizations, including the College of Engineering Student Advisory Board, layout editor and writer for the College of Engineering Blueprint Magazine, and the UCARE Ambassador Program. He also participated in the Spring 2009 American Society of Mechanical Engineers' student design competition where he helped design a Mars Rover Robot. This spring Khoa will participate in the NASA microgravity research program funded by NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowship. Using the expertise and experience he gained from his research, he plans to attend graduate school to obtain a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering.
Joe Bartels is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He is involved in several student organizations including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is also a member of two national engineering honor societies, Tau Beta Pi, and Pi Tau Sigma. Bartels is currently the president of the AIAA chapter and treasurer of the Nebraska Pi chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. In the Fall of 2008, he helped charter the AIAA chapter at the UNL. As part of this organization he helped his team receive a top ten finish in the 2009 International CanSat Design Competition. This year, as president of the AIAA chapter, he will lead a team in designing a CanSat for the annual CanSat Design Competition. Bartels is also a member of UNL's NASA Microgravity University team. As a member of this team he will help develop an experiment that will validate the performance of a cryocooler which will be used on the next generation VASIMR rocket. This experiment will be performed on NASA's Zero-g aircraft to determine the effects of microgravity on the cryocooler. Upon graduation, Bartels plans to continue his education by pursuing a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Kyrik Weidman is a National Hispanic Scholar from Vermont and a Junior mechanical engineering student at UNL. His international experiences include study abroad trips to Spain and Brazil. While in Brazil for seven months, Weidman studied Portuguese and attended engineering classes at the University of Ceará. In 2009 Weidman was a summer intern for Omaha Public Power District. Weidman is now on UNL's 2010 Microgravity University team, sponsored by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant. Weidman attends church and Bible study and enjoys racquetball, soccer, golf, skiing, and traveling.
Eldon Summerson is a Junior Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Eldon is involved in student lead organizations like ASME and Microgravity University. Eldon also works part time as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Jeff Shield on design projects and magnetic materials research. Eldon's participation in Microgravity University is being sponsored by NASA's Nebraska Space Grant.
Robert Jacobberger is a junior Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Jacobberger conducts research on the synthesis and characterization of advanced nanomaterials with Dr. Chin Li Cheung at UNL and Dr. Fereydoon Namavar at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He investigates the incorporation of these materials into devices such as photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes, and biomedical implants. As a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow, he will be researching lanthanum hexaboride nanostructures as cold field emission cathodes for their use in electronic and optical devices for space exploration. His extracurricular activities include the Engineering Student Advisory Board, UNL Honors Program, NUnited, and intramural sports. Jacobberger plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering and a scientific research career with NASA.
Nicole Pothier is in the process of completing her B.S. degree in Meteorology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently researching the correlation between MODIS aerosol observations and corresponding AERONET stations with Dr. Jun Wang, under the financial support of the NASA Nebraska Space Grant. Nicole plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2010.
Melissa Huffman is currently working on her B.S. degree in meteorology. During the summer of 2009, she completed an internship as a NOAA Hollings Scholar at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, where she researched the short-fuse weather requirements of emergency managers and first responders. The project she submitted won second place at the NOAA Hollings Symposium for the oral National Weather Service presentations in July 2009. Funded from the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, Melissa is now using MODIS and CALIPSO satellite data to study the 3D transport of smoke transport from Central America to Texas.
Eric Wood is currently pursueing his master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. His current research interests involve the study of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with particular interest on the performance of large capacity batteries as they degrade over time and use. Eric recently received his Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). Graduating in December of 2009, Eric was awarded Graduation with Distinction from the College of Engineering. While at UNL, he was a research assistant for both Dr. Carl Nelson and Dr. Kevin Cole. His work with Dr. Nelson involved the control of mechanical systems through the use of an adaptive PID controller. Working with Dr. Cole, he helped develop analytical techniques for describing the fluid flow and heat transfer in micro-channels. Originally from North Platte, NE, Eric enjoys spending time outdoors running and snowboarding.
Alyssa Koch is from Hastings, NE and iscurrently attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She is a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.
Amy Gehring is a senior Meteorology and Mathematics major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently the UNL weather intern for the Lincoln-Lancaster County Emergency Management as well as the president of the university's chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Her research interests include using satellite remote sensing to improve snow forecasting, specifically in the Midwest region.
Alexandra Toftul is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Toftul is also a member of the 2010 CanSat Design Competition team and the University Honors Program. She is involved in the Undergraduate Creative Activities Research Experience (UCARE) program at UNL. Her UCARE project involves the development of a low-complexity algorithm for high quality audio compression under the guidance of Dr. Michael Hoffman. In addition, she is a Garmin Scholar in Electrical Engineering and an Eastman Scholar in Mathematics. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Control Systems Engineering and hope to one day work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Douglas Jansen is a junior mechanical engineer student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Douglas is a William H. Thompson Scholar and a recipient of the Susan K. Buffet Foundation Scholarship. Douglas is currently a summer intern at Lockheed Martin in the Human Space Flight Advance department in Denver Colorado. His internship is sponsored by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant.
Zach Ramaekers is a graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha pursuing his Masters degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. He will graduate in May 2011. Zach graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in May 2010. He has spent three years as an intern at Union Pacific Railroad doing systems development. During the 2010-2011 semesters, Zach will be doing research under Dr. Prithviraj Dasgupta in the C-MANTIC Lab on the ModRED (Modular self-reconfigurable Robot for autonomous Extra-terrestrial exploration and Discovery) robot. Zach is spending the Summer of 2010 at JPL participating in a NASA Nebraska Space Grant sponsored internship.
Joan Yule is a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Yule assists Dr. Gu and her graduate students with their research. She recently worked on a NASA funded project that tested aircraft material and she learned not only how to properly conduct and test the material, but also learned the proper steps of recording, analyzing, and presenting the data. Yule is currently spending the summer at Johnson Space Center as Space Grant Intern.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Shane Wurdeman is currently pursuing his doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a focus on Biomechanics. He is working in the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility and is involved with multiple studies involving gait in healthy and pathological populations under the guidance of Dr. Nick Stergiou. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from Creighton University followed by his Master's of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He completed a clinical residency at the Shriner's Hospital for Children - Los Angeles and then worked as a Certified Prosthetist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center - West Los Angeles. His current research interests include gait and posture resulting from the use of orthopedic bracing and prosthetics.
Sara Myers is a PhD candidate in Biomechanics and Motor Control at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, through the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area Department of Surgery program. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Nick Stergiou, and she works within the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility. Sara received her BS degree in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2004 and her MS in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2007. Her research focuses on using her backgrounds in biomechanics and physiology to assess and improve the functional status of older and pathological populations. Her current research project seeks to investigate potential effects of vascular occlusion and its resulting ischemic conditions on muscular strength.
Jessie Huisinga is in the final year of her doctoral degree in Biomechanics under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Stergiou at the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility. She received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa in May 2004 and completed her Master's degree in Exercise Science after receiving a graduate assistantship from the HPER Department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Since beginning her graduate studies, she has been involved in research within the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility focused on the gait mechanics and movement variability of healthy and pathological populations. She is currently the gait study coordinator for an ongoing Multiple Sclerosis project sponsored by the MARS Foundation. She was awarded a NASA Nebraska Space Grant to study the effect of balance training on Multiple Sclerosis patients to improve postural control.
Jennifer Yentes is a third year doctoral student in the Graduate Studies, MSIA program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is currently working at the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility at UNO as a graduate research assistant under the direction of Dr. Nick Stergiou. Her current research interests include the analysis of gait in patients with chronic diseases as well as the investigation of neuronal control of gait. Jennifer has been previously awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowship to investigate gait adaptations of COPD patients as compared to healthy controls as well as the effect of performing a simultaneous motor task while walking.
Irene Suh is pursuing her doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) with a focus on occupational health. She is currently working at the Center for Advanced Surgical Technology, UNMC as a graduate student under the guidance of Dr. Ka-Chun Siu. Her research focuses on using both computer science and mathematical background to develop an educational program for training new surgeons to perform surgery using a remote robot, such as the DaVinci Surgical System. She was awarded a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship to investigate the effect of environmental and internal distractions on robotic surgical performance.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Chelsey Goodwin is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She is majoring in Mathematics with a concentration in Pre-Actuary. She is currently a Thompson Scholar and plans to pursue her masters in Mathematics
Melissa Emory is a senior mathematics student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Emory is involved in many extracurricular activities such as being the Math Club President, Pi Mu Epsilon petitioner, and on the Honors College Student Advisory Board, she also tutors Project Achieve students in mathematics. Emory is currently participating in a research project under Dr. Griff Elder in the area of Algebraic Number Theory and Arithmetic Geometry. The research project deals with finding integer points on curves. The methods that have been developed to analyze this topic have become methods in cryptography since Elliptic Curve Cryptography is fast replacing RSA as the public-key cryptosystem of choice. Upon graduation, Melissa plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
Jenna Allison is a Medicinal Chemistry major and Biology minor with a pre-med concentration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She works in the Math and Science Learning Center as a chemistry, biology, and math tutor as well as volunteers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Maple Street YMCA. Jenna began working with Dr. Jodi Kreiling in the summer of 2009 on a project to determine the structure and function of a tumor suppressor protein. Much is already known about the function of their specific protein and therefore Jenna is working on determining how its structure relates to the overall functional properties. In her free time, Jenna enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors and on the water, and playing sports (mostly volleyball and basketball).
Neil Huben is an undergraduate senior majoring in Biotechnology in the Honors Program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Neil is working in the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, directed by Dr. Nicholas Stergiou, where he conducts research focusing on clinical gait analysis in elderly and pathological populations. Neil was awarded a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship for his current research project entitled “Variability of Movement in an Altered Inertial Dynamics Task.” Neil’s project focuses on testing the role of sensory feedback integration in human movement control through changing the inertial dynamics of a gait task.
Jeffrey Kaipust is in his second year of his Master's degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is currently working at the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility at UNO as a graduate assistant under the direction of Dr. Nick Stergiou. He earned his Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2008. His current research focus is determining the relationship between different auditory stimulation and gait. Jeffrey has been awarded the NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowship to investigate the effect of auditory stimulation on gait variability in healthy young and healthy elderly.
Zach Ossino is a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha studying Aviation. He currently holds an FAA Commercial Certificate with Multiengine and Instrument ratings. Zach plans to complete his FAA Certified Flight Instructor Certificate in the spring of 2010 and begin work as a flight instructor. Zach is a member of Women in Aviation International and Co-Captain of the UNO Flight Team. The Flight Team took first place in their regional competition in October of 2009 and is headed to nationals in May 2010. With the funding of the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, Zach will be able to expand his aviation network at the Women in Aviation International annual conference in Orlando, FL in February 2010.
Jason Terreri is a master's student at UNO and is an airport professional with experience involving airport operations and management, as well as airport planning, design and construction. Terreri has worked in nearly every sector of the aviation industry. He began his career as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, and then transitioned into airport consulting where he focused on airport construction and capital development projects. He is currently working on a research project with faculty mentor, Dr. Dave Byers of UNO's Aviation Institute.
Paul Downey is a junior Electronic Engineering major at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Omaha campus). He was born and grew up in Nebraska. He is a graduate of Plattsmouth High School. He is a member of the Local Union Chapter of the International Brotherhood of electrical Workers, I.B.E.W, and is currently a licensed electrician in the State of Nebraska. In addition to his interest in electronics and engineering, and when he is not studying, he enjoys spending time with his young son.
Angela Burgett is working on an aviation degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Burgett has achieved a private pilot’s license, instrument rating, and commercial license for a single engine land. Currently, she is working on her Instructor’s Certificate. Because of her thirst for knowledge in aviation, she has flown many different types of aircraft. She has also explored beyond the realm of training aircraft, for example, having the opportunity to fly a Piper Cub on skis and performing an aileron roll in a P-51. Though she has a strong interest in flying, she also wants to learn more about why and how things fly and believes this can be achieved at the National Helicopter Training Workshop. Over the past year, Angela has expressed her passion for aviation by volunteering at the Strategic Air & Space Museum. Here, she helps out with various learning activities for children, including activities for scouts that help them earn their aviation or space merit badges. Next on her agenda is to learn how to fly helicopters among many other things, such as learning how to fly aerobatics. Angela knows she has a bright future ahead of her and hopes that educating children will encourage future generations to enter into the field of aviation.
Colby Ranslem is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is majoring in Aviation with a concentration in professional flight and expects to graduate in 2012. He grew up in Fremont, Ne where he developed a love for flying at age 16. During his senior year of High School, he passed his Private Pilot check ride. Colby now has a Commercial Pilot License with Instrument rating and is currently working on obtaining a Multi-Commercial Certificate.