Sam Hart, University of Montana
Sam is currently pursuing a B.S. in physics at University of Montana in addition to research activities. His research started in the spring of 2016, on a project to analyze data from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Sam’s project is to use IBEX-Hi (one of the two sensors on IBEX) data to map out the boundaries of the Earth’s magnetosheath, specifically, the bowshock and the magnetopause. Although the primary purpose of IBEX is to map out the structure of the interstellar boundary between the solar wind and interstellar space, it has as a secondary objective of studying the Earth’s magnetosphere. This project is very computer-intensive and required that Sam come up to speed quickly on the Python programming language. Sam also rapidly developed understanding of the scientific aspects of the project. He is remarkably good at asking the right questions (something undergraduates often find challenging), and figuring out what he needs to know in order to make progress. The level of skill Sam has shown, and his understanding of the underlying space science and statistical analysis, are quite remarkable for someone so early in his academic career.
Kristine Pye, Flathead Valley Community College
In 2015 Flathead Valley Community College was supported by an EPSCoR grant directed by Dr. Wataru Nakagawa of Montana State University. The goal was to build a 4-Channel Imaging Polarimeter for instructional purposes. Kristine has become the most knowledgeable team member in redesigning and revamping the instrument. She has learned many new skills and concepts including LabVIEW, MatLab, Arduino, Soldworks CAD, 3D printing, and optical alignment procedures. In addition to the MSGC symposium, Kristine has presented this project to two other public presentations.