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Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars Summer Academy: Planning a Mission to Mars

     In my junior year of high school, I completed a self-directed, online aerospace course through Old Dominion University. My performance in the class allowed me the opportunity to attend the VASTS Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center in the Summer of 2020 (remote due to COVID-19). At the week-long academy, myself and a group of peers from across the state of Virginia worked to create a mock mission to Mars, which we then presented to a panel of NASA officials at the end of the week.


      My team was Science and Surface Operations, and we were in charge of establishing the scientific goals of the mission, and subsequently choosing the landing, exploration, and base sites on Mars. My individual role was the Radiation and Contamination Control Specialist. I researched different forms of radiation shielding to protect our astronauts and spacecraft, and planned methods for preserving the integrity of our scientific samples. This project solidified my passion for space, and made me realize that I love working with a team, and collaborating towards a common goal.

Research & Projects

I'm most passionate about topics in Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology, especially those which involve black holes, Relativity, the nature of time, the expansion of the universe, and the Big Bang. I hope to pursue research on both the theoretical and experimental sides of astrophysics. My past and current projects are listed here. Feel free to explore! 

Python DeCal Final Project: Analyzing the first detected Gravitational Waves (LIGO GW150914 Black Hole Binary Merger)

In the spring of my freshman year, I worked on a project in my Python Coding for Astronomers class to analyze the first detected black hole merger event by the LIGO and Virgo collaboration. In the process of recreating the gravitational wave "blips" from merger events, my group and I used LIGO data and Python coding tutorials to plot the waveform pattern. I learned about Numerical Relativity and how to implement LIGO coding software in practice with Python. 

To view our final project, click here.

Physics Directed Reading Program: Learning General Relativity

I am also a part of the Physics Directed Reading Program (Spring 2022 & Fall 2023), under the mentorship of Physics PhD student Bethany Suter. I have been studying General Relativity with Gravitation, by Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne, and John Archibald Wheeler. At the end of the Spring 2022 semester, I gave a presentation on General Relativity.

To view my presentation slides, click here.

To learn more about this program, click below!

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