Next RockOn Workshop – Summer 2019

RockOn, a workshop at Wallops Flight Facility for sounding rocket payload design, is an exciting chance for teams of students to kickstart payload projects at their home institutions. Participants in the workshop will build a working scientific payload and then see it launch on a real sounding rocket!

2019 registration is now open!

MDSGC strongly encourages Maryland teams or individuals to apply for support to participate in RockOn, which is hosted by our colleagues at the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. The 2019 workshop dates will be June 14-21, 2019. Discounted early registration is available until March, but we expect all slots to fill much earlier so don’t delay.

Maryland teams or individuals planning to attend or interested for a future year should contact Matt Collinge for details.

Summer Internship Proposals

MDSGC invites proposals to support summer 2019 internships and student research projects at Maryland institutions. Prospective mentors (typically, faculty at educational institutions) who have not previously applied for MDSGC funds are especially encouraged to apply.

Projects may be in any STEM area with relevance to NASA’s missions or future workforce needs. Preference will be given to proposals with strong NASA connections, including collaboration with NASA scientists or engineers, research associated with past, present or future NASA missions, and general aerospace or space science relevance. A typical proposal will request support for 1-2 students. This opportunity is primarily intended for undergraduate level students, but applications to support high-school or graduate interns can be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Proposals must be submitted to no later than December 31, 2018. Decisions are expected in late January 2019.

Rules and restrictions:

  • Students receiving direct funding through this program must be U.S. citizens.
  • Students supported through this program will be required to:
    • Present their work at MDSGC symposium in late July/early August 2019
    • Complete an exit survey at the end of the project
    • Agree to participate in MDSGC longitudinal tracking
  • If the program is substantially oversubscribed, MDSGC may limit awards to no more than 2 students per institution.

Required proposal elements:

  1. Mentor qualifications — Brief description of professional qualifications and past mentorship experience.
  2. Project description — No more than one page about each project and its relevance to NASA.
  3. Student recruitment plan — If specific students have already been identified, briefly describe how they were recruited and their qualifications. We especially encourage proposals with recruitment targeted at women and members of underrepresented minorities.
  4. Student learning goals and timeline — Examples: programming languages, analysis techniques, specialized topical knowledge, intermediate milestones in project completion.
  5. Mentoring plan/evaluation — How often student and primary mentor will meet; peer mentoring/group participation; what feedback will be provided to the student. Criteria for overall project and student success.
  6. Deliverables/expected results — Include plan for presenting results and/or incorporating into publications.
  7. Budget — Preference will be given to proposals that incorporate significant non-federal match (e.g., university, state, corporate, or private funds), including in-kind contributions (e.g., mentor’s contributed time), and for which MDSGC funds are used primarily to support student stipends. Up to $500 may be budgeted, per intern, for materials (if needed; please describe). Please see NASA internship stipend guidelines in the table below. Students supported through this program will also be eligible to apply to MDSGC for travel support to present their work at a meeting within the following calendar year. Funds for such travel may but need not be built into the proposal budget. 

NASA Internship Stipend Levels (effective Fall 2018)
Fall and Spring (16 weeks)
Full-time graduate: $14,400
Full-time undergrad: $11,680
Summer (10 weeks)
Full-time graduate: $9,000
Full-time undergrad: $7,300

For any questions, please contact MDSGC Deputy Director Matt Collinge.

Quaternions Turn 175

Plaque on Broom (Brougham) Bridge in Ireland commemorating Hamilton's discovery of quaternions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018, is the one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the discovery of quaternions, one of the most difficult discoveries ever in the history of mathematical physics.  The discovery was made — in a sudden moment of inspiration following 11 years of studious toil — by Sir William Rowan Hamilton as he was crossing Brougham Bridge, in Ireland, with his wife.  On the spot, or so it is said, he carved his famous equations on the bridge.

Some years later, Hamilton recalled:

They started into life, or light, full grown, on the 16th of October, 1843, as I was walking with Lady Hamilton to Dublin, and came up to Brougham Bridge.  That is to say, I then and there felt the galvanic circuit of thought closed, and the sparks which fell from it were the fundamental equations between I, J, K; exactly such as I have used them ever since.  I pulled out, on the spot, a notebook, which still exists, and made an entry….

Although Hamilton’s original inscription does not survive, the plaque shown above hangs on the bridge to this day in commemoration both of Hamilton’s discovery and of his sudden inspiration. The plaque reads:

Here as he walked by
on the 16th of October 1843
Sir William Rowan Hamilton
in a flash of genius discovered
the fundamental formula
for quaternion multiplication
i2 = j2 = k2 = i j k = -1
& cut it on a stone of this bridge

Here’s to Hamilton, to quaternions, to bridges, and to inspiration!

Student Research Symposium

Group photo of student participants in MDSGC Student Research Symposium 2018. Photo credit: Will Kirk, JHU Homewood photography.

The 2018 MDSGC Student Research Symposium, held Saturday, July 28, showcased presentations by more than 40 student interns and researchers working at sites across Maryland. Topics ranged from rocket payloads to black holes to detecting bio-signatures in desert rocks. Institutions represented included Capitol Technology University, Goddard Space Flight Center, Hagerstown Community College, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, the United States Naval Academy, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The full program can be found here.

MDSGC congratulates all participants on a productive summer and looks forward to more of their successes in the future!

All participants and attendees are invited to submit feedback on the symposium here.

2018 Student Research Symposium

MDSGC held its 2018 Student Research Symposium on Saturday, July 28th, at the Mt. Washington Conference Center in Baltimore, MD. The overall schedule was:

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Registration and poster setup. (Continental breakfast provided.) Presenters should plan to arrive no later than 7:30 a.m.

8:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Talk session 1.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Group photos.

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Poster session. (Coffee and snacks provided.)

11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Talk session 2.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Luncheon and discussion.

Click here for directions to the Mt. Washington Conference Center.

Click here for presentation guidelines (PDF).

The full program follows, including links to presentation files (in PDF) where available. This page will be updated as final presentation versions are submitted.

Talk Session 1

8:00 a.m.
Introductory Remarks — Matt Collinge

8:05 a.m.
Studying the CGM through Quasar Absorption (PDF) — Elizabeth Fletcher and Elizabeth Apala

8:15 a.m.

8:25 a.m.

8:35 a.m.

8:45 a.m.

8:55 a.m.

9:05 a.m.

9:15 a.m.

9:25 a.m.
Experiential Learning in Automation and Robotics (PDF) — Juliette Abbonizio and Charné Folks

Poster Session

Dusty Plasma Lab: SPARK Circuit and Frequency Testing (PDF) — Marcus Bailey

Biobot (PDF) — Erik Bryson

Engineering Outreach through Summer Programs (PDF) — Crista Campbell

Why is the Sky Dark at Night? Olbers’ Paradox and its Resolutions (PDF) — Kayleigh Gallagher

Solar-System Bodies as Tests of New Physics (PDF) — Amelia Genus

CACTUS-1: Coordinated Applied Capitol Technology University Satellite (PDF) — George Giakoumakis

Black Hole Firewalls and the Information Paradox (PDF) — Carson Goettlicher

Exotic Spacetime Topology as an Alternative to Dark Matter and Energy (PDF) — Greg Kuri

Far-Red Light Photoacclimation (FaRLiP) at the Dry Limit of Life (PDF) — Bayleigh Murray

Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor — Andre Nottingham II

The Metallicity Gradient of the Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxy Population — Karl Osterbauer

Classroom Simulation of Gravitational Waves from Orbiting Binaries (PDF) — Jon Perry

Spacecraft Flight Deck Simulator: Neutral Buoyancy Docking Simulation (PDF) — Corey Vernon

Station Observation & Locating Optimizer (PDF) — Ahmed Woodson

Talk Session 2

11:00 a.m.
Welcome Back — Matt Collinge

11:05 a.m.

11:20 a.m.
Much Dark, Very Dust (PDF) — Jessica Gillcrist and Maegan Jennings

11:30 a.m.

11:40 a.m.

11:50 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

12:10 p.m.

12:20 p.m.
Air Quality (PDF) — T.J. Krauel

12:30 p.m.

12:40 p.m.
Utilizing the MADe Modeling Tool (PDF) — Youngjo Lim and Tony Odita

Scholarship Applications

The regular application period for Fall 2018 scholarships was March 16 through May 1, 2018. Late applications will still be considered on a case by case basis, if funding slots are available. For information about the program and to apply, visit our Scholarships page. Priority is given to eligible returning students, but new applications can always be considered, contingent on the availability of funds.

Current scholarship recipients: if you are looking for the awardee information form, it is here.