Year 4 Students
Ms. Ginger Bryngelson, a fourth-year PhD student doing research in astronomy, has served as the POCA graduate student mentor to the new, POCA first-year graduate students, helping them get settled in Clemson, and providing advice and tutoring for the core courses. She continued in this capacity through the Spring 2011 term. In the fall of 2011 Mr. Shaun Hampton became the POCA graduate mentor.
Ms. Jessica Carter graduated from Valdosta State University with a BS in astronomy in May 2010, and matriculated in August 2010. She was recruited beginning the previous summer, when she worked with Mark Leising in the SARA REU internship program at Clemson. She is member of the first cohort, consisting of two graduate students, to receive a POCA graduate stipend. She receives additional support from the Clemson Physics & Astronomy department in the form of a tuition waiver. She completed a successful Fall semester in courses and began research activities. Unfortunately she took a medical leave in the spring of 2011, but returned in the fall of 2012 to complete coursework. In the spring of 2012 she is a part-time graduate student and as such is not covered by the POCA fellowship.
Mr. Shaun Hampton received a BS in Chemistry from UNC-Chappel Hill, and entered Clemson's graduate program in August 2010. He was recruited following contacts with UNC faculty. He is member of the first cohort, consisting of two graduate students, to receive a POCA graduate stipend. He receives additional support from the Clemson Physics & Astronomy department in the form of a tuition waiver. He completed a successful first three semesters and is now in his fourth semester as a POCA graduate student. He is studying Hawking radiation from black holes with Professor Dieter Hartmann (POCA Senior Personnel) for a M.S. thesis project. Shaun is also the POCA graduate mentor during the 2011-12 academic year. He has assisted both the two new POCA graduate students, Lalmansingh and Delgado-Navarro, and also is available as a mentor to the three minority undergraduates who recently transferred into the Clemson physics program.
Jared Lalmansingh is the first undergraduate to complete the B.S. in physics with the astronomy option at South Carolina State University. He is also the first POCA undergraduate to 'move up in the POCA pipeline' from SC State to POCA partner Clemson University's graduate progam in physics and astronomy. He has successfully completed one semester of core courses and is enrolled in the second semester. He is doing research as time allows on supernova modeling with Professor Mark Leising (POCA Co-PI).
Adriana Delgado-Navarro (B.S. U. of Florida) began her PhD studies in Fall 2011. Her prior degree was in astronomy, so she is studying 600-level physics courses to prepare for Clemson core course. In the Fall 2011, she did quite well and will be well-prepared for the 800-900 level courses in Fall 2012. She, like all the other POCA students, in enrolled in and attends our weekly astrophysics seminar. Each student gives one talk per semester, in addition to attending.
Bryan Pugh is a transfer student from a local junior college. He entered SC State in the fall of 2010 as a sophomore physics major with an astronomy option. He has received a POCA scholarship since he joined the program. Pugh was a Tier I intern in the summer of 2010, working with Co-PI Cash modeling light curves of RV Tauri stars. He was a coauthor on a poster at the AAS meeting in January 2011. He was a Tier II student researcher in the summer of 2011, working with Co-PI Cash on Kepler light curves. He has continued as a POCA scholarship recipient during the 2011-12 academic year and is progressing toward his degree. He will return to SC State in the summer of 2012 as a Tier II intern.
Charles Kurgatt is a physics major who was exploring astronomy as an option. He spent the summer of 2010 as a Tier I student working with PI Walter examining the spectra of RV Tauri and Semi-regular stars. He was a coauthor on a poster presentation at the AAS meeting in January 2011. During the 2010-11 academic year he decided to switch from the pure physics B.S. to the physics with an astronomy option.
During the summer of 2011, Kurgatt worked as a Tier II intern under the mentorship of POCA Senior Personnel, Dr. Sean Brittain at Clemson on measuring spectro-astrometric signals of CO emission from disks around young stars. The goal of this project was for him to measure the mass of the star and inclination of the disk from these measurements. Charles learned how to reduce high-resolution infrared spectroscopy, fit models of gas emission from disks, and interpret chi-squared minimization contours.
During the academic year 2011-12 he has continued at SC State as an astronomy option and conducted independent research under PI Walter examining photometric data from the RCT telescope and conducting spectral classification of RV Tauri and Semi-regular stars to be used in an upcoming publication. He will return to SC State in the summer of 2012 as a Tier II intern.
Maria Martinez is a student from Sacramento Community College in Sacramento, California. She was recruited by PI Walter during his booth exhibit at the SACNAS meeting in September-October 2010. She came to the SC State campus during the summer of 2011 as a Tier I intern, conducting research with Co-PI Cash on Kepler light curves.
She returned to her home instution and presented her work to her fellow students and faculty members. Her summer experience has motivated her to continue her studies with the eventual goal of acquiring a Ph.D. in astronomy. She attended the the January 2012 AAS meeting. She said 'The AAS meeting most?definitely?inspired me to?continue?my path towards astrophysics.' She will return to SC State in the summer of 2012 as a Tier II intern.
Guillermo (Will) Hernandez is a physics major at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. He was recruited by PI Walter during his booth exhibit at the SACNAS meeting in September-October 2010. He came to the SC State campus during the summer of 2011 as a Tier I intern, conducting research with Co-PI Cash on Kepler light curves. He returned to Montclair and presented his work to his fellow students and faculty members where it was well received. He attended the January 2012 AAS meeting and will return to SC State in the summer of 2012 as a Tier II intern.
His comment on the summer 2011 experience was: 'It was one of the best educational experiences of my life! It gave me the motivation to continue on my education path because it gave me a glimpse as to what I can do with a degree in astrophysics.'
Will expressed his excitement after the AAS meeting: 'Amazing experience! To be among all the physicists and physics majors (both at undergrad and graduate level) was great and helped me feel as if even though my school has a small physics department, there are others out there with the same passion I have for the stars.'
Ciera Starkey is a physics major from Tennessee State University. She came to SC State in the summer of 2011 as a Tier I intern, conducting research under the guidance of Co-PI Cash on Kepler light curves. Before coming to the program she admitted her main interest was in medical physics, but that she would like to see what astronomy was like. She completed here work at returned to Tennessee State University in the fall of 2011. Unfortunately Tennessee State has decided to discontinue its physics degree program. Presumably Ciera will be able to complete her B.S. in physics at the school, but her future involvement in astronomy does not appear to be an option.
Andrew Gott is a senior physics major at POCA Collaborating Institution Western Kentucky University. He used the RCT to acquire multicolor photometery and present a poster on the supernova in M101 at the January 2012 AAS meeting. This poster was entitled 'UBVRI Optical monitoring of the Supernova 2011fe in Pinwheel Galaxy with the 1.3-meter Robtotically Controlled Telescope.' For this work he was selected as one of the undergraduate Chambliss award winners. His travel to AAS was supported by the POCA award as part of its research partnership with Western Kentucky and in support of the RCT.
Myles McKay entered SC State University in the fall of 2011 as a freshman majoring in physics with the astronomy option. He is a POCA scholarship awardee. He will become a Tier I summer intern at SC State during the summer of 2012.
Marina Terry is an SC State undergraduate majoring in nuclear engineering. She expressed an interest in learning more about astronomy, so she was awarded a POCA stipend during the fall 2011 term to conduct research under Co-PI Cash on Kepler light curves. Her work assited PI Walter and Cash in preparing and presenting their research at the January 2012 AAS meeting. While Marina's work product was very good, she and the SC State faculty agreed that because of time commitments in the spring of 2012 she would not continue her POCA work.