Muriel is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. This past summer, Muriel did research as a Summer Student Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Masaachussetts. Her project focused on quantifying the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs — no trips to coral reefs were involved unfortunately, but she did get to enjoy beautiful Cape Cod beaches after work every day!! Muriel compared experimental records of skeletal density — the one component of coral growth most sensitive to OA — with predicted densities from a numerical skeletal growth model without OA-forcing to determine a statistical relationship between OA and coral density. Muriel's work will contribute to an understanding of how coral reefs and the diverse ecosystems they host are effected by a changing environment.
Rachel spent the summer in sunny California, working in the Aeromechanics department of NASA Ames Reserach Center (home of the two largest wind tunnels in the world!!). There, she developed a hover test to assess the ground and wall effects of the 80-Foot by 120-Foot Wind Tunnel on hover testing data. Most of her work involved designing a hover test mount, sourcing hardware, and detailing a testing plan for the experiment.
As one of 4 physics majors in her department of 56 interns, Rachel faced unique challenges, but she found herself coming back to her boss's encouraging words from the first day: "I chose you because you're a physics major, and physics majors can do anything. Don't forget that." She has learned so much about engineering, and she is excited to apply the hands on skills she's acquired to her future research!"
This summer, Adri has been working at NASA Goddard, studying the energy and motion of pulsating aurora to help understand wave-particle interactions occurring in Earth's magnetosphere, as well as helping review specs for a high frequency wave detector that will fly on a future sounding rocket. She's also been speaking with NASA Directors about gender equity in STEM, and is helping implement a mandatory panel on gender equity at Goddard for all future interns.
This summer, Abby did research at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University. Her research was on dark matter halo disruption and formation. Abby used high-resolution simulations to study features of halos over time in order to characterize and model dark matter substructure. Abby's research will be important in better understanding our own galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as for use in applications for gravitational lensing. Abby's favorite part was working in such a collaborative research environment and having so many opportunities to go to talks by world-famous physicists, such as one by Roger Penrose! She also enjoyed the perfect weather of the Bay Area, which is always a bonus.
Grace has spent the past two summers doing physics and astronomy research at Penn, in the lab of Dr. Masao Sako. This summer, she has been using data from the Dark Energy Survey to look for blackholes passing in front of stars, by analyzing at how the brightness of objects changes over time. This project is working towards a larger goal: to determine how much of dark matter could be made up of massive blackholes.