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2012-2013 Funded Research

University of Nebraska - Lincoln




Jeff HawksEarly Stage Development of a Medical Device for Non-invasive Measurement of Intracranial Pressure
Jeff A. Hawks, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, and  Greg R. Bashford, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

This research will work to develop a prototype medical device that can non-invasively measure intracranial pressure (ICP).  Astronauts currently onboard the ISS have been trained to perform ocular ultrasounds by NASA space medicine instructors in order to obtain images of the optic nerve sheath during spaceflight.  Studies have shown that the diameter of the optic nerve sheath can be used to detect increased intracranial pressure.  Ultrasound equipment is already available on the ISS.  Astronauts also use hand-held tonometry to measure intraocular pressure (IOP), but many recent studies have shown no distinct correlation between IOP and ICP. The proposed objective is to develop a prototype device integrated with pressure sensors and actuators that can be used to non-invasively measure intracranial pressure. One objective of the proposed work is using a one-dimensional, non-imaging Doppler ultrasound transducer to detect Greg Bashfordblood flow within the ophthalmic artery.  The feasibility of this can be experimentally demonstrated within the laboratory.  Eventually, the proposed prototype would be developed into a stand-alone handheld device.  Since the goal of the device is to measure intracranial pressure, an imaging ultrasound probe (linear array) would not be necessary.  This would eliminate the need for large computer equipment needed to view the images.  Producing an imaging array is possible, but is not an objective under the funding of this proposal. A mechanical device equipped with actuators and pressure transducers will be used to apply pressure to a eye during ultrasonography.  The user will simply hold the device in place while a telescoping housing will apply pressure to the eye.  Pressure transducers will measure the absolute pressure applied to the eye.  Once again, laboratory experiments will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of this task using appropriate biomaterials to simulate the tissue mechanics of the eye. Once both tasks have been demonstrated independently in the laboratory setting, they will be integrated into a single prototype device.  This device will operate similarly to the methods used to measure mean arterial pressure.  Pressure will be applied to eye until blood flow is stopped or decreases.  Once this is detected using the Doppler ultrasound transducer, the applied pressure will be measured using the pressure transducer.  This pressure reading can be used to estimate intracranial pressure near the ophthalmic artery.  Laboratory models of artificial tissue will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed device.  Ocular elasticity can vary among individuals.  Therefore, it is important to test the efficacy of the proposed device over a range of different tissue elasticity.  The proposed device would be automated so that a user would measure intracranial pressure at the push of a button.

Travel Grant to Attend the 5th Werhner von Braun Memorial Symposium
Jeff A. Hawks, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

The purpose of this travel grant is to attend the 5th Werhner von Braun Memorial Symposium in Huntsville, AL.  This travel will help build upon the relationship and visibility among program directors at NASA.  Collaborative projects between engineers at UNL and medical researchers at UNMC have both a Nebraska Space Grant and NSBRI Step 1 Proposal under review.  Collaborators at NASA include Victor Hurst, who is a Senior Scientist and Space Medicine Instructor with Wyle’s Integrated Science and Engineering Group, Richard Cole (NASA and Wyle Flight Surgeon), and more recently Jimmy Wu (Deputy Project Manager for Advanced Projects with Wyle’s Science, Technology and Engineering Group).  The purpose of attending this conference is to discuss and listen to NASA program directors who will speak about the current needs and interests among their various directorates.  NASA is looking for research on techniques for non-invasive measurement of intracranial pressure during spaceflight so that long-duration space missions are safe for astronauts during human exploration missions.  Speakers of interest include Robert Lightfoot (acting NASA Associate Administrator) and Mason Peck (NASA Chief Technologist).  One panel topic is “NASA Human Space Exploration Plans and Update,” which is moderated by Dan Dumbacher (Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA HQ).  Another relevant panel is entitled “Robotic and Human Exploration” moderated by Jim Garvin (Chief Scientist, NASA GSFC).  Panelists for that panel include Victoria Friedenson (Manager, Joint Robotic Precursor Activities, Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, NASA HQ), Fuk Li (Director, Mars Exploration Directorate, Mars Exploration Program Manager, JPL), and Dan Schumacher (Manager, Science and Technology Office, NASA MSFC).  Attending this conference will benefit the aims of future funding proposals to NASA by listening to various program managers discuss NASA’s relevant needs.  Many of these managers serve as review panelists for proposals or are in direct contact with review panelists.


Benjamin TerryNoninvasive, Ambulatory, Long-term, Deep Gastrointestinal Biosensor and Implanter
Benjamin S. Terry, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

Developing biosensor systems has long been a high priority for NASA because they are essential for monitoring health and safety of the astronaut; however, continuous, reliable, long-term, ambulatory, biostatistical monitoring that does not interfere with the mission’s sometimes physically rigorous duties is still elusive. We are therefore creating a new critical biosensing technology that will make NASA’s crewed space exploration missions more capable. The proposed work will lay the foundation for a larger, comprehensive study, the aim of which is to create a new biosensing system that is intuitive and transparent to the patient, yet robust and reliable. The new biostatistical sensing system is designed to facilitate monitoring the health of astronauts on long-term missions where terrestrial medical facilities and personnel are inaccessible. To accomplish this, the sensor is swallowable, but unlike current gastrointestinal (GI) capsule sensors, the swallowed deployment module auto-implants the sensing package into the GI tract where it remains long-term. In this manner, deep, long-term implantation and the resulting rich biometric set are acquired without the need for invasive surgery or specialized medical personnel.

Travel Grant for presentation and collaborating weith Kenneth Cohen and his NASA associates at InoMedic health Applications, Inc. and KSC
Benjamin S. Terry, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

I traveled to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and InoMedic Health Applications, Inc. (IHA) on April 29, 2013 to meet with Kenneth Cohen and his IHA and NASA associates Daniel Woodard, Ben Terry at KSCRobert Friedman, and Berta Cohen. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a collaborative relationship between Dr. Cohen’s group (the Kennedy Space Center Biomedical and Engineering Research Laboratory) and the Intuitive Biometrics Laboratory at UNL. I presented our NASA relevant research currently underway that is funded by the Mini Grant: “Noninvasive, Ambulatory, Long-Term, Deep Gastrointestinal Biosensor and Implanter”. The expertise of the group at KSC would clearly augment our core competencies and there appears to be many potential areas for collaboration. The NASA group was pleased with the visit as evidenced by Dr. Cohen's enthusiastic response: "Ben, thanks for making the trip to Florida.  It was great to finally meet you and geek out all morning.  I'm looking forward to potential collaborations.  Your visit generated a lot of enthusiasm." The trip resulted in plans to jointly submit at least two proposals (one to NSF, and one to NASA).

Travel Grant to 2nd Annual ISS Research and Development Conference
Benjamin S. Terry, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

The purpose of this grant is to fund travel to the 2nd Annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference. As an investigator interested in conducting research on the space station, I will have the opportunity to discuss two important questions with NASA
attendees: "What can I do on the ISS?" and "How can I do it?". NASA will conduct a workshop that will enable me to take this information and develop my own ideas for experiments using the unique ISS laboratory. Also of keen interest is the International Microgravity Strategic Planning Group (IMSPG), which will meet at the conference. My laboratory is currently developing a new in vivo sensor deployment system to facilitate gathering biometrical data from NASA astronauts and the IMSPG meeting will provide details for testing our work in a microgravity environment.


Lily WangHuman Reactions to Noise with Varying Degrees of Rattle or Vibration as Produced by Low-boom Supersonic Aircraft
Lily M. Wang, Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska Peter Kiewit Institute, Omaha, NE

The goal of this research project is to characterize human reactions to noise with varying degrees of rattle or vibration, similar to those that may be produced indoors by low-boom supersonic aircraft flying overhead.  NASA is interested in developing low-boom supersonic aircraft for commercial use; however, one main concern with deploying such aircraft over land is the detrimental effect that such noise could have on human communities.  Researchers at NASA Langley Research Center have been studying the response to ‘low’ level sonic boom noise by humans within building interiors.  One finding they’ve concluded is that when the boom noise is accompanied with rattle or vibration, produced from the building structure, there seems to be a more negative perception of the noise and greater annoyance.  In this investigation, test subjects are asked to complete tasks and respond to questionnaires, while exposed to noise with varying degrees of rattle or vibration.  Statistical analyses of the results will provide insight on the degree to which noise with rattle or vibration impacts human performance and perception.  Assorted noise metrics used to predict annoyance will also be investigated to determine how reliably they predict human response to noise with rattle or vibration.


K. P. RajurkarHigh Speed Electro-Discharge Drilling and Wire Electrode-Discharge Machining of Titanium Alloys for Aerospace Applications
K. P. Rajurkar, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, NE

Titanium alloys play an important role in aircraft and aerospace applications because of their high strength-to-weight ratio. Conventional machining such as turning have some difficulties in machining titanium alloys  due to their low thermal conductivity and chemical  reactivity with most cutting tool materials. Wire Electrical discharge machining (WEDM) offers an alternative as it is an non-contact electro-thermal process. This project investigates the effect of machining parameters such as pulse on time, pulse interval, wire tension and wire types on the performance (such cutting speed, surface integrity and wire breakage) of wire  electrical discharge machining of Titanium alloys. Experiments will be conducted using statistical design of experiments approach and surface integrity will be studied with Scanning Electron Microscope and surface profilometer.


USLI Team 2013Education and Outreach: University Student Launch Initiative Team at UNL 2013
Kevin Cole, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

The best description of the University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) is on the NASA education website. "NASA University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level, or AGL. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.”
This competition will last a full eight months of design, testing and building. The competition goes farther than just building a rocket, you also have to: write multiple design reports, conduct video conferences with NASA engineers, and put together outreach events that promote STEM based activities in the community. Our biggest goal for this yea's competition is to provide the best outreach out of all the teams participating.


DBF TeamDesign Build Fly Team at UNL 2013
Kevin Cole, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

For the 2012/13 AIAA Design/Build/Fly competition, teams must engineer and construct a remote control airplane that can carry various payloads of internal and external missiles with a maximum payload of 3 lbs. The airplane must also be able to take off within a 30 ft by 30ft square.  Light planes with a short wingspan and short length receive higher scores. The UNL Design/Build/Fly team is building a single motor bi-plane this year. The bi-plane configuration makes the plane heavier, but allows it to have a shorter wingspan and greater structural integrity. In addition to building the plane, the competition also requires teams to submit a report that explains the design of the plane and how the design decisions were made.


Jun Wang, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

Funds requested for this proposal will be used to support graduate and undergraduate students who have taken or are taking PI’s class “Physical Meteorology”, “Statistical Analysis of Atmospheric Data’, and “Radiative Transfer” to conduct research projects on North American wildfires using the data from NASA’s Earth Observation System, in particular, the data collected from the afternoon-satellite constellations (i.e., the so-called A-train satellites including Aqua, Aura, and CALIPSO). These projects will stimulate the student’s research interests in NASA’s Earth Science, provide much-need hands-on research experiences for students who like to explore the opportunities to join the NASA’s workforce. Based upon the past successful examples of students who conducted the research projects under the PI’s guidance, it is expected that most (if not all) the outcomes of these projects will be used by students to apply summer internship and research fellowships funded by the NASA. In turn, PI will gain valuable experiences in communicating and mentoring undergraduates, a key step in the faculty’s self-development and an integral part for better development of the curriculum for the courses that PI teaches at UNL. Data and software collected by the students will be used as educational materials and in homework designs for this class. The project will strengthen the collaboration that PI has now with the scientists in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The expected research results will also have important implications for the air quality management in Nebraska (ie., air division under the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality).


Microgravity 2013NASA MICROGRAVITY SEED 2013
Carl Nelson, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

This project's purpose is to evaluate the ability of the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) to provide a microgravity environment for a free flying vehicle. To evaluate the ARGOS performance it could be compared to the known microgravity environment generated by the parabolic flight of an airplane. The other option for comparison would be an experiment on the International Space Station. ARGOS is a robotic system that provides reduced gravity environments through a large motion based platform. It is a facility at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) that has been used for human and robotic testing over the past three years. However, ARGOS has not been used for testing free flyers and the evaluation of the ARGOS control system to maintain a microgravity environment for a free flyer is a unique area of research. The student design team will need to develop a free flyer (an octo-copter) that will fly a specific set of motion patterns in both ARGOS and plane induced microgravity environments. A method of collecting data for comparison is required. The data should be a combination of collection methods that may include motion capture camera system and inertial guidance units. Parabolic flight provides an ideal environment to collect a data set for comparison to the data collected on ARGOS. Ultimately, this data will allow the ARGOS system to be evaluated and the control system to be tuned for optimal free flyer performance.


Shane Farritor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s RASC-AL Robo-Ops team is building a rover to compete in the 2013 RASC-AL Robo-Ops Competition. This competition is an engineering competition sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace.  UNL’s team consists of a multidisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students. The objective of this competition is for the students to design and build a teleoperated rover that is capable of traveling over different terrains and collecting various target objects with its robotic arm. For the competition, the rover will be exploring the rock yard at NASA’s Johnson Space Center while being remotely operated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln campus. On the day of the competition, the rover will have one hour to collect as many targets as possible. The targets are worth various points based on their difficulty, and the rover that collects the most points wins this part of the competition. Other aspects of the competition that provide points include education and public outreach, written reports, and a presentation. The team with the most points awarded from all areas wins the competition.


Jing Zeng, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NE

The project will help to develop a new hands-on lab section for a course entitled: METR 465/865 "Satellite Remote Sensing of Atmosphere". This course is well targeted for using NASA’s satellite data to study the processes related to weather (clouds and precipitation), air quality and visibility, and climate. And a new course of “Numerical modeling of weather and climate” will be developed. In this course the students will understand the principles of numerical modeling and following the NASA modeling examples (e.g. Land information system, The project will help to develop a new hands-on lab section for a course entitled: METR 465/865 "Satellite Remote Sensing of Atmosphere". This course is well targeted for using NASA’s satellite data to study the processes related to weather (clouds and precipitation), air quality and visibility, and climate; and a new course “Numerical modeling of weather and climate” will be developed. The new course focus on teaching students with the numerical modeling theories and train the students to work on simple numerical models.


Rock-Sat C TeamRockSat-C Team at UNL 2013
Kevin Cole, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

RockSat-C is a program for students to design and build a sounding rocket payload, and launch the payload on a rocket out of Wallops Flight Facility! Payloads shall be student based with faculty and/or industry involvement only. The RockSat-C program actively engages the students through full design-process mentoring, assisting them through the design phase in the Fall semester (CODR, PDR, CDR), and leading the teams through testing and integration reviews and Launch Readiness Review in the Spring. The RSC manager also helps the teams with integration and launch at Wallops Flight Facility!

Our team’s payload consists of two different experiments. The first test is an Electro Hydrodynamic Pump (EHD pump). The second being testing the rigidity of a new 3D printed material known as Polyetherketoneketone (PEKK). This material was printed into two plates that hold the batteries for the computers systems that regulated the EHD pump. The battery plates are being tested for deflection with string gauges.

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University of Nebraska at Omaha




Tomas HelikarDynamical Visualization of Large-Scale Models of Network-Like Processes
Tomas Helikar, Mathematics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE

The high complexity of biochemical networks necessitates the world-wide scientific community as a whole to study and contribute to evolving, globally shared models of biological processes. Our group launched a new collaborative platform, Cell Collective (, for creation and simulations of  computer models of complex biological systems. The technology has unique features that enable scientists to simulate biological systems in an intuitive fashion and in real-time. The purpose of this project is develop a new tool which will also enable researchers to visualize the structure of complex, network-like processes. Much like a house blueprint, this will provide scientists with the ability to visualize the various components of biological process from a holistic perspective, making it easier to further investigate the process as related to normal as well as malfunctioning states. Furthermore, the technologies around which this proposal centers are becoming the centerpiece of new classes developed at UNO to promote STEM education; hence further development and support obtained through this project will be an important step for continued efforts in the STEM education direction.


Stacie PetterEncouraging Diversity in Technology-Related Studies and Careers
Stacie Petter, Information Systems & Quantitative Analysis, University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE

This project encourages women to consider academic majors and careers in information technology through activities that expose students to the opportunities available in the information technology field through the development of a speaker series and demonstrate the need for more diversity in the field of information technology.  The speaker series will include a member of NASA’s Johnson Space Center Speaker’s Bureau to highlight the opportunities in technology at NASA.  We will also invite local and national figures from industry or academia to highlight the diversity of careers and people in technology.  To raise awareness about the need for diversity in technology careers, we will initiate a local “Red Chair Campaign” ( to highlight the need for more women and diversity in the technology field.  This campaign will allow us to reach out to students, faculty, staff, and local organizations about the value and desire for more diversity in technology-related majors and careers.


Daniel BlankeNovel Assistive Locomotor Tool for Gait Rehabilitation in the Elderly
Daniel Blanke, Health Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE

The goal of this research is to investigate the effect of horizontal assistive forces on gait variability, a natural and important feature of human movement, in older adults. This novel approach has exciting potential for therapeutic applications in the prevention of falls. Falls are a major issue facing older adults, affecting one out of three adults over the age of sixty-five every year. Gait variability has been strongly associated with the incidence of falls amongst the elderly. Our preliminary research has revealed that gait variability can be altered by applying a horizontal assistive force to a person while they walk. This has been demonstrated in young, healthy subjects. Similarly, our computational models have shown that the application of assistive forces can alter gait variability. However, the effect of these forces on the gait variability of the elderly populations is, as of yet, unknown. An experimental apparatus will be constructed that applies horizontal assistive forces to subjects as they walk on a treadmill. Gait variability will be compared between non-assistive and assistive conditions in healthy young and elderly subjects. Both young and elderly subjects will then participate in a six-week training program. Each age group will be split into an experimental group, training with horizontal assistive forces, and a control group, training without horizontal assistive forces. Gait variability will also be measured twice at one week intervals after the training program to test for retention effects. The proposed research will further our understanding of gait variability as it relates to aging, and most importantly how amenable it is to training under these conditions. Results of this research will lay the groundwork for the development of innovative rehabilitation protocols to improve physical function and decrease risk of falling in older persons.


Nicholas StergiouAmerican Society of Biomechanics Annual Conference 2013
Nicholas Stergiou, Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, University of Nebraska - Omaha, NE

The American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) Annual Conference is an educational opportunity that allows collaboration between many researchers, from students to well established scientists, within the field of biomechanics. This conference is the primary activity of the society, with the goal of facilitating the exchange of new and novel ideas between scientists working in different disciplines within the field of biomechanics.  The 2013 annual meeting of the ASB will be taking place in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Nicholas Stergiou, Isaacson Professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at UNO, and the director of the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, has been appointed as the conference chair for the meeting. The conference will include many podium and poster presentations, along with keynote talks on STEM research related topics. There are also several events for students and young faculty at this conference, for encouraging growth and further collaboration. 


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Wayne Community Schools – ESU #1

Lee BrogieKICKStart III Teacher Training Grant
Lee A. Brogie, Science, Wayne Community Schools – ESU #1, Wakefield, NE

To promote science teaching and learning, KICKStart III was designed to excite  and invite teachers into the world of scientific inquiry.  Focusing on physiology, participation in the workshop will promote collaboration among teachers and scientists, model inquiry-based lessons that utilize technology, and expand the scientific knowledge base of teachers (and their students) in the area of physiology. KICKStart III was held in conjunction with the Nebraska Physiological Society’s annual meeting.  The day provided teachers with the opportunity to learn more about physiology from nationally known physiologists, meet  physiologists, get hands-on experience exploring concepts of human physiology by using Vernier sensors and interfaces, take home their very own Go!Link and Heart Rate Monitor to immediately use with students, and create partnerships between physiologists and teachers.  To learn more about this meeting go to the NPS website:

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Metropolitan Community College

 Metropolitan Community College




PosterInquiry-Based Early Undergraduate Research Using High-Altitude Ballooning
Kendra Sibbernsen, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE and Michael Sibbernsen, Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, NE

One common objective for undergraduate science classes is to have students learn how to do scientific inquiry. However, often in science laboratory classes, students learn to take data, analyze it, and come to conclusions, but they are told what to study and are thus denied the opportunity to ask their own research questions, a crucial part of scientific inquiry. A special topics class in high-altitude ballooning was offered at Metropolitan Community College, a large metropolitan two-year college in Omaha, NE, to focus on scientific inquiry for the participants through support of NASA Nebraska Space Grant. Weather balloons with payloads attached are launched to near space where the balloon bursts and falls with a parachute back to the ground. Students worked in small groups to ask their research questions, they designed their payloads, participated in the launch and retrieval of equipment, analyzed data, and presented the results of their research. This type of experience has potential uses in physics, physical science, engineering, electronics, computer programming, meteorology, astronomy, and chemistry classes. The experience also serves as a stepping-stone between developing rocket payloads and designing satellite payloads. Results from student work are shared, as well as student responses to the experience and suggestions for administering a high-altitude ballooning program for undergraduates or extending inquiry-based ballooning experiences into high-school or middle-school. View Poster Here:


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Strategic Air and Space Musuem

Strategic Air and Space Museum






SASM Summer CampStrategic Air and Space Museum Summer Education Program
Ken Schroeder, Deputy Director & Education Director, Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, NE

The Strategic Air & Space Museum’s Education Department is committed to fueling the curiosity of children across the Midwest and to educating them with special emphasis in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). We believe that STEM is a direction of great significance for our youth and the future of our country and world and so we strive for excellence in all of our STEM-centered educational programs. One such program is the museum’s science themed summer camps. During the summer of 2012, campers in the Robotics class created, designed, and built robots for a variety of purposes. Campers learned the basics of electronics and programming, visited working robotic labs and saw robots used in industrial applications. For more information on Strategic Air & Space Museum Summer Camps visit


Amelia Squires, College of Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE; and Education Department, Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, NE

The purpose of this trip to Space Center Houston is to make professional connections with NASA staff that can be a resource for Strategic Air & Space Museum educators and administrative staff.  Additionally, museum staff will preview the traveling exhibit, MathAlive! which will be presented at the Strategic Air & Space museum during the fall of 2013. The visit will aid exhibit staff to plan for the install of the exhibit and allow the museum’s education staff to begin developing education programs for field trips and scouting overnights.


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Creigthon University





Lynne, Houtz, Department of Education, Creighton University, Omaha, NE

Funds provided by this mini-grant are making it possible for all the Elementary Education students in my Spring 2013 Math and Science Methods block to participate in the Creative Mathematics Workshop, “Establishing Critical Math Routines – Best Practices with the Common Core Standards,” presented by Kim Sutton in Omaha, March 25, 2013. The workshop provides practical, easy to implement information and ideas that teachers will use for years. The dynamic hands-on presentations, materials and tools energize and motivate effective math teaching. The participants will learn:

  • New powerful and effective strategies for fact fluency
  • Increase the impact of the classroom number line with grade specific questions
  • Turn Fridays into a day of higher level thinking
  • More mental math ideas using the simplest of tools
  • Making connections with words and numbers for proportional reasoning
  • Using music and movements that reinforce math concepts for permanence
  • The daily activities needed to build strong number sense.

Through the collaboration with our NASA partners, Creighton preservice teachers are also increasing their exposure to NASA and 3 applied for the Preservice Teacher Institute. The information, skills and strategies that result from this project will be incorporated into the EDU 568/569 Math-Science Methods block, and will become part of the repertoire of Creighton preservice teachers now and the future as they plan their science and math teaching. As a result of improved math and science teaching and learning, the children my future teachers work with will be better prepared for STEM careers.



Dr. Jack Gabel, Physics Department, Creighton University, Omaha, NE

This project will support the efforts of our research group’s observational studies of mass outflows from active galactic nuclei (AGN). We are currently undertaking several projects that seek to determine the source and energetics of AGN outflows, their role in the evolution of supermassive black holes and active galaxies, and their impact on the galaxies that harbor them. Undergraduate and graduate students at Creighton are analyzing spectra in multiple wavelength regimes using data from some of the most advanced observing facilities, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope. Funding from this project will be used to support our travel to present results at professional meetings and to work with collaborators on these projects.


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University of Nebraska Medical Center





Ka-Chun SiuImpact of Virtual Simulation Performance and Learning During Teleoperation
Dr. Ka-Chun Siu, Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

During long-duration space travel, using teleoperation through interactive telepresence may be the only viable option for providing for health care. With the support of NASA Nebraska EPSCoR Mini-grant, our multidisciplinary research team (Dr. Oleynikov from UNMC, Dr. Nelson from UNL and my research team) will develop a new Virtual Simulator with Modular joystick for Teleperation (ViSMoT). We will investigate the impact of ViSMoT on teleoperational skills performance among performers of different surgical experience levels and compare the effectiveness of the ViSMoT with a traditional surgical box trainer on teleoperational skills performance among performers of different surgical experience levels. The goal for this project is to establish a new generation of virtual training environment with flexible modular control interface for trainees to learn teleoperational skills more efficiently. More importantly, the new training environment can be useful for learning how to remote control robotic arms in the international space station.