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Students present research for NASA

By Staff | May 15, 2012

Shepherd University hosted NASA Day on April 11. Thirteen students received fellowships with the West Virginia Space Grant Undergraduate Fellowship Program and presented their research.

The 14 fellowship recipients include Matt Alt, computer engineering major from Baker; David Chelf, mathematics major from Inwood; Matt Griffith, computer engineering major from Boonsboro, Md.; Tyler Kessler computer and information sciences major from Kearneysville; Brittani Love, chemistry major from Martinsburg; Matthew Mocniak, computer and Information sciences major from Morgantown; Michael Smith, computer engineering major from Kearneysville; Jessica Cain, biology major from Inwood; Rebecca Furby, chemistry major from Charles Town; Jordan Hunter, biology major from Gapmills; Samantha Katz, biology major from Sykesville, Md.; Dustin Revell, biology major from Martinsburg; Kelsey Fry, secondary education major from Kearneysville; and Lesley Swisher, biology major from Capon Bridge.

Fellowships are made possible by the NASA West Virginia Space Grand Consortium and Shepherd’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The grants, which range from $400-1,300, are matched by Dr. Suzanne Shipley and the Office of the President.

According to Reza Mirdamadi, associate professor of engineering and chair of the Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, 30 students applied for the award.

Each year, 10-15 students are accepted into the program. Mirdamadi also serves as a board member on the NASA West Virginia Space Grand Consortium.

Students made their proposals in December 2011 to a committee of faculty members, including Dr. Jason Best, professor of astronomy and astrophysics; Dr. Seung-yun Kim, assistant professor of computer and information sciences; Dr. Dan Dilella, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry; Dr. Nicholas Martin, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. Zhijun Wang, assistant professor of computer science; and Dr. David Wing, associate professor of biology. Research topics included the dependence of langmuir monolayer compression modulus on molecular structure and compression speed, developing a communication protocol for a robot over a wireless local area network and development of a simplified CPU instruction set architecture based on the Cyclone II FPGA.

Mirdamadi said that the program encourages research on the undergraduate level. Works are published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research, which is distributed throughout the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“NASA Day is designed to acknowledge and recognize our students who have shown their commitments in enhancing their educational experience at a unique and exceptional level.

The NASA scholars have shown that dedication through their academic records and conducting research with faculty,” said Mirdamadi.

Scholarships were given to Steave Sanderson, computer engineering major from Shepherdstown; Michael Skaggs, computer engineering major from Arnoldsburg; Jeffrey Carter, computer engineering major from Shepherdstown; Matt Tark, computer engineering major from Hagerstown, Md.; Courtney Crites, computer engineering major from Moorefield; Caitlyn Shane, computer information technology major from Hedgesville; Duncan Taylor, environmental studies major from Chester, Md.; Allison Craver, chemistry major from Charles Town; Lawrence Bass, computer engineering major from Garland, Tex.; Katherine Hoeck, mathematics major from Kearneysville; and Trey Knepper, environmental studies major from Hedgesville.

Recipients of this year’s Faculty Research Enhancement Awards were Best; Kim; Dr. Ralph Wojtowicz, assistant professor of mathematics; Dr. Jeff Groff, assistant professor of physics; Dr. Liao Weidong, associate professor of computer and information sciences; and Dr. Osman Guzide, associate professor of computer and information sciences.