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Student Profiles 2016-2017

The NASA Nebraska Space Grant is proud of our funded students.  The profiles below highlight the excellent research and aerospace workforce development activities being undertaken in Nebraska.  

Trent Werner is a native of Aurora, Nebraska. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science in 2015. . While at NWU, Trent completed a senior research project investigating the correlation of medial longitudinal arch height and running economy. Upon graduating from NWU in May of 2015, Trent began didactic work at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to obtain his Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Upon graduation, Trent plans to complete an orthopedic residency and begin practicing as a sports and orthopedic physical therapist. He is conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Chun-Kai Huang, investigating the effects of visual-spatial discordance on fine motor control in order to hopefully develop a visuomotor training paradigm for NASA’s astronauts.

Jonathan Hautzinger is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at UNO. In the Fall 2015 semester he was admitted into the Masters in Information Assurance integrated program so that he could pursue his Masters while working on his Bachelors. Much of his experience comes from his work outside of class. Hautzinger have designed web applications that utilize MVC, competed in three local programming competitions, over a dozen CTFs, three Cyber Defense Competitions (one of which I was heavily involved in securing a SCADA system simulated with PyOPC), and was on the Red Team for Iowa Western Community College’s Cyber Defense Competition. Hautzinger is currently involved as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Ka-Chun Siu at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Nick Roth is a graduate research assistant at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln studying under Dr. Alexander. His research interests include optics, biofouling, and materials processing. He started as an undergraduate research assistant in 2013 with a grant funded through the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program. Other side projects that he has been working on include femtosecond laser processed surfaces to improve boiling and currently he is working on a grant through the Nebraska Research Initiative (NRI) to create surfaces resistant to biofouling. In his spare time he is working on his private pilot’s license with his father who is a flight instructor. He hopes to find a career working in the aviation industry and possibility doing some kind of research.

Claire Ashley is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from Overland Park, KS. She is majoring in Mechanical and Materials Engineering. She is working under Dr. Carl Nelson as a member of the Air and Space Research Team on a project that was accepted by NASA’s Micro-g NExT program. With the NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship she will be traveling to the NASA Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory to test and present the team’s project. She is the Vice President of Society of Women Engineers at UNL, and is highly involved on campus. She also has a minor in Spanish, and will spend her summer studying abroad in Spain.

Luke Monhollon is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, majoring in Biological Systems Engineering.  Being very active on campus, Luke is known for being a project manager for Air and Space Research, an engineering design group on campus, as well as analyzing the effects of mechanical and chemical stimuli on stem cells within Dr. Jung Yul Lim’s research laboratory.  Beyond doing research as part of the ASR and other lab groups, he is active in schools around southeastern Nebraska instilling science and technology interests in K-12 students.  Promoting STEM fields is done through presentations and hands on activities to show the students have the ability to be successful in these areas.  Outside of science and engineering related activities, Luke enjoys volunteering at the homeless shelter donation sorting center and gardening during the summer months. 

Zachary Smith is a senior undergraduate at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln pursuing a major in physics and minors in mathematics and computer science. He currently works for the Cosmic Ray Observatory Project at UNL under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Claes and Dr. Gregory Snow. During the academic year, Zachary also works as a teaching assistant for several undergraduate level astronomy courses. He will be working to upgrade the facilities at Behlen Observatory as part of a projected funded by a NASA Nebraska Space Grant. After graduation, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in astrophysics.

Nathan Borcyk is a junior at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Business. He and his fellow Air and Space Research team members participated in NASA’s MicroG NExT program. As a culmination to the program, the team successfully tested their gap spanner boom prototype in a simulated microgravity environment in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center Houston, Texas. Nathan wishes to pursue a career involving creative problem solving and the engineering design process, similar to his project with NASA.

Peyton VanWinkle is a third year biochemistry major and Spanish minor at Hastings College. Through NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowship funding, she will be working under Dr. Amy Morris to complete research focusing on the effects of graphene and reduced graphene oxide on vertebrate development. This research seeks to determine if these highly innovative compounds may negatively affect vertebrate embryo development via environmental exposure. Peyton is a member of the Hastings College chapters of the Beta Beta Beta biology honor society, and American Chemical Society. Peyton is also a Peer Mentor for freshman biology majors. Outside of the STEM field, she is a resident assistant, a campus Peer Educator, and a member of the women’s leadership sorority, Kappa Rho Upsilon. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Hastings College, Peyton hopes to continue her passion for science by pursuing a graduate degree in developmental biology.

Melissa Parks, a native of Norfolk, NE, graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences. While there, she ran cross country and track for the Bulldogs and completed research investigating room utilization trends in pediatric therapy, the effects of long-distance running warm-ups on vertical jump performance, and perception vs. reality regarding shoe weight and foot temperature during running, among others. Melissa is currently in her second year of coursework to obtain a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree at UNMC. Under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Ka-Chun Siu and the engineer team, she is now working to create and validate a new mobile motion capture system that automatically analyzes human gait parameters from a smartphone application. Not only is this more cost-effective than current gold-standard lab systems, a program like this allows for use anywhere, like in PT clinics, rural locations, and confined quarters like NASA’s Space Station, and the program can aide medical professionals in diagnosing and treating many musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.developmental biology.

Joseph Bowens, is from Libertyville, Illinois and graduated from Creighton University in 2011 with a BA in Exercise Science.  Joey earned his Master of Science in Clinical Anatomy in 2013.  Following graduation, he matriculated into Creighton University’s School of Medicine where he is currently in his 3rd year and serves as the Creighton Medical Student Government President.  Joey is currently conducting research under Dr. Jorge Zuniga and Dr. Joan Eckerson. He is working in the 3D Innovations and Research Laboratory at UNO, specifically to design a 3D printing curriculum aimed at health professionals in order to help them be proficient with the emerging technologies. This curriculum will allow NASA astronauts and their health-care teams to utilize 3D printing to treat injuries from a distance.

Nathan Giefer is a pre-engineering major at Western Nebraska Community College.  He plans on transferring after his two years at WNCC to complete a degree in mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering.  Nathan is the secretary of the Math and Science Club, a member of the WNCC baseball team, and a resident assistant.  With the NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship, he will construct a model airplane and learn the basics of aircraft structure, design, and aerodynamics. 

Gunnar Nelson is a third year undergraduate at Creighton University pursuing a physics and energy science double major. He began his material science research through a summer internship program before his freshman year. He currently works under Dr. Andrew Baruth researching block copolymer nanolithography. This field of material science is interested in exploiting the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of phase separation between polymers on the nanoscale. He will be developing a novel characterization technique for the nanostructures he works with using birefringence. He will be researching the potential application for these nanostructures to be used in ultrafiltration membranes in water filtration on long range spaceflight. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Gunnar plans to pursue a graduate degree in either physics or material science.

Niki Sansburn is a Junior at the College of Saint Mary. She is in the Pre-Physician Assistant Program, combining a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Niki will complete her degree in Human Biology in Fall 2018 and her degree in Physician Assistant Studies in Summer 2020. Niki has been working as a Quality Associate for a clinical trial packaging company and is a member of CSM's Walk Tall Honor’s Program. After graduation, Niki plans to be an orthopedic / surgery physician assistant and is thrilled to receive a fellowship through NASA Nebraska Space Grant.  She hopes her enthusiasm for science becomes contagious in helping prove to curious minds how fun science can be.

Sidney Baudendistel is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in biomechanics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. As a a graduate assistant in Biomechanics at UNO, her research interests include load-carrying tasks and rehabilitation of athletes. She received her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science with a Minor in Biology at Truman State University in May 2014. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biomechanics after graduation. As part of her Fellowship, Sidney will investigate how bimanual load carriage affects the accessory respiratory muscles.

Morgan Busboom is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She graduated from Creighton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Health Administration and Policy.  She currently works in UNO’s Exercise Physiology Lab as a graduate assistant and enjoys researching environmental Exercise Physiology.  Her fellowship project will investigate the effects of hypoxia on appetite regulating hormones.  After graduating with her Master’s Degree, Morgan intends to continue her education and receive a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. 

Austin Duncan graduated from UNC at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a BA in Exercise and Sport Science.  He is currently pursuing a degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation at UNO with a research focus on coordination dynamics. Austin is a graduate assistant in the Department of Biomechanics and The Center for Research in Human Movement Variability under the tutelage of Dr. Vivien Marmelat. For his fellowship he will be analyzing the effects of variably structured music cueing on the gait dynamics of individuals with Parkinson’s disease and plans to continue his education to the PhD level.

Divya Katakam received her Bachelors in Information Technology in 2011. As part of her Bachelors, she was one of two students selected to work with the Defense Research Development Organization. As part of the project at DRDO, she worked on development of Test RIG software for the Inertial Navigation System. After her Bachelors, she worked with United Health Care on Mainframes with specific programming on COBOL and JCL. After UHC she worked with a start-up as a Business Analyst helping them with major Technological advancements. The firm was recognized as one of the best in the region for two consecutive years during her time there. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Management Information Systems at University of Nebraska at Omaha and is involved as a researcher on a tele-surgical training project with Dr. Ka-Chun Siu at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Brittney Adams is a native of Grand Island, Nebraska. She attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife biology with environmental emphasis in 2014.  Upon graduating from UNK in May of 2014, Brittney worked at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, but ultimately decided to return to UNK to obtain her Masters in Biology. Brittney began work on her master's at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2015. She is studying aquaponics and focusing on using waste material from farms and other industrial locations. Items such as discarded chemical containers, pvc pipes, excess gravel, spent barley, spent corn, etc.  are being used to create the aquaponics systems. Upon graduation, Brittney plans to use the knowledge she has gained to obtain her work developing growing systems for NASA. She is conducting her graduate research under the supervision of Dr. Nate Bickford, investigating the effects of using waste material found on farms and other industrial areas to create an aquaponics system and what an aquaponics system has to offer the community. From this research she hopes to develop a way for NASA’s astronauts to enjoy fresh fruit and  aid in their physiological well-being.

Mona Al-Mugotir graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in August of 2002 with a bachelors degree in biochemistry.  Professionally, Mona worked for eight years in both academic and industrial laboratory settings before joining graduate school.  Currently, Mona is a 6th year PhD student in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Nebraska medical center in Omaha.  She is working in Dr. Gloria Borgstahl’s laboratory and her project involves targeting the RPA:RAD52 DNA repair complex for cancer therapeutics.  

Jahaun Azadmanesh graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biotechnology and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Jahaun studies the catalytic mechanism of human manganese superoxide dismutase using Neutron Macromolecular Crystallography. Knowledge of the catalytic mechanism will provide insight into treating ionizing radiation experienced by astronauts.

Brock Leinweber is a computer engineering student currently attending Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, NE with plans obtain a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Although he has always been interested in computers he recently found a true interest in pursuing a career in the field. He currently works as a research assistant at WNCC under Dr. William Spurgeon, and as a website manager at Masek Golf Car Company in Gering, NE.

Derek Quinton is a Senior at the University of Nebraska Kearney. He is majoring in Aviation Systems Management and aspires to become a captain for a major air carrier. Working under his advisor, Terry Gibbs, Derek will work to pioneer a drone research and development program at UNK creating standards and proving the accuracy and reliability of drones for future commercial usage. After Graduation, Derek plans to further his aviation career and continue advocating for commercial drone usage.

Lucas Struble is currently a graduate student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program.  Lucas works in the research group of Dr. Gloria Borgstahl to acquire structural information on the RPA-RAD52-DNA complex through x-ray scattering.  This research will provide information on future therapeutic targets for cancer treatments.

Marilyn Wright is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Nebraska-Kearney studying under Dr. Nate Bickford. Her project focuses on the use of remote sensing data to create a consensus map of Northern goshawk nesting areas in Finland. This project will begin to explore opportunities to use the species as a climate change indicator. Marilyn has also worked on several other projects including goshawk nest defense behavior, goshawk prey selection and survivorship, a white-tailed jackrabbit population survey, and a road obliteration study. Marilyn hopes to continue her career in academics to pursue a PhD and would like to remain involved in international research, GIS modeling, and conservation.

James Gehringer is a graduate research assistant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center studying under Dr. Max J. Kurz. His research focuses on neuroscience and rehabilitation, trying to identify and normalize aberrant brain activity, and apply these normalization techniques through therapeutic treatment. James started as an undergraduate research assistant, applying his Computer Engineering degree to ongoing functional brain imaging studies. His research is exploring the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on neuroplasticity and whether this technique could be used to counteract the effects of microgravity on cognitive performance. 

Karen Saavedra is a senior at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska. Majoring in biology and minoring in Spanish, Karen plans to pursue a degree in medicine after graduation. At CSM, she is a Marie Curie scholar, an executive of Math and Science Club, and is involved in CSM’s Walk Talk Honors Program, Aquarium Team, and Spanish Club. Karen has also participated in University of Nebraska Medical Center's Summer Undergraduate Alcohol Research Program in 2016. Her research funded by the NASA Nebraska Space Grant will let her study the role of support media in the development of Pythium root rot in hydroponically grown lettuce in order to improve plant culture at the international space station.

Nicolette Larsen is a junior at the College of Saint Mary's in Omaha, Nebraska, majoring in both Biology and Chemistry.  After receiving her Bachelor's degree, she plans on attending pharmacy school. Nicolette received two NASA Nebraska Space Grant fellowships.  In the first, she will be working with Dr. Kumari researching Curcumin and Resveratrol as antioxidants.  In the second fellowship, Nicolette, under Dr. Roe's supervision, will be the Co-Coordinator for the CSM Elementary Outreach program.  She will be developing strategies to tutor and teach elementary students about math and science while making a positive impact on their education.

Nicole Benker is a senior Physics and Math major at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, minoring in Japanese. She is an active member of the Society of Physics Students and regularly participates in public outreach events. After graduation, her goal is to pursue a graduate degree and ultimately participate in space exploration. Her previous research experience consists of payload integration with NASA for deployment of a solar neutron detector aboard ISS, and the associated orbital mechanics simulations and solar energetic particle exposure calculations.

Shelby Clausen graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. During her undergraduate education, she worked with the Cosmic Ray Observatory Project building cosmic ray detectors that were given to high school students around the state of Nebraska. She is currently working on her Masters degree at UNL.  Under the guidance of Dr. Bradley Shadwick and Dr. Shawn Langan Shelby is helping to update and automate the 30-inch telescope at the Behlen Observatory outside Mead, Nebraska.

Zion Schell is a Computer Science Ph.D candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who received his undergraduate degree (a double-major in Computer Science and Mathematics) from the very same University.  With the NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellowship, he will be completing his graduate research under Dr. Ashok Samal into a unified framework for learned spatial data fusion based in information theory; essentially, teaching computers how to learn from experts when working with spatial data (such as that provided by satellite imagery, as well as on-the-ground datasets).

Lauren Segal is a PhD student under the advisement of Dr. Richard Wilson in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Her current graduate project looks at antioxidation signaling in fungi using the model plant pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of rice blast disease. Within the rice (Oryza sativa) host, M. Oryzae, must neutralize host reactive oxygen species (ROS) bursts. The oxidative stress the fungus is exposed to, and the many genes needed for antioxidation, are key to cellular survival and proliferation of this organism. At the conclusion of the project she will identify new regulators of oxidative stress and advance the current understanding of the ability for life to survive in harsh environments.

Zoe Reed is a senior at Creighton University from Lawrence, Kansas. As a member of the Honors Program, she majors in Exercise Science and Pre-Health Professions. She plans to attend physical therapy school following graduation. During the award period, Zoe will be manipulating DICOM files to 3D print ultrasound images of unborn babies.  The end goal of this research is to find a practical file manipulation methodology using ultrasound images to create a 3D printed object to provide a visually impaired parent the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their unborn baby.

Marcus Brown is currently a senior physics major attending Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.  Marcus conducted research at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota during the summer of 2015, investigating the crystallization of germanium thin-films using nanosphere lithography.  During the summer of 2016, he conducted research on flame dynamics during lean premixed swirl-stabilized combustion at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.  He plans to pursue a graduate degree in aeronautical or mechanical engineering upon completing his undergraduate degree.  Marcus’s NASA Nebraska Space Grant project will involve testing exhaust temperatures and velocities, as well as, thrust capabilities of a miniature jet turbine engine in order to develop high speed unmanned aircraft.

Taylor Gehringer is a PhD student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Nebraska Omaha. A native of Omaha, Taylor is a proud product of the University of Nebraska system, holding a B.A. from UNL and an M.A. from UNO. Taylor coordinates the Stereotyping, Culture, and Intergroup Processes lab under Dr. Carey Ryan. Her research examines STEM classroom and workplace environmental factors that may contribute to talent attrition overall, and the persistent underrepresentation of women, in particular. As a graduate research assistant for UNO’s Enrollment Management department, she builds predictive models of student enrollment and retention to meet the data needs of university administrators as they assess current goals and develop strategies for the future.

Chase Rock is pursuing a Master’s degree in Exercise Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), with a concentration in Biomechanics. Chase received his Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience in 2014, and has since been assisting with research at the Biomechanics Research Building at UNO. In his thesis project, Chase aims to uncover the link between energetics and movement pattern during human locomotion. After acquiring his Master’s degree, Chase will be enrolling in a PhD program where he will do further research in neuroscience and biomechanics.

Samuel Ray is a graduate research assistant in the Biomechanics Research Building at the University of Nebraska - Omaha, under the mentorship of Dr. Kota Takahashi. Samuel graduated with a Bachelor's in Biomedical Engineering from North Carolina State University, where he first met Dr. Takahashi, and was recruited to Omaha to pursue a master's in Exercise Science with a concentration in Biomechanics. At NC State, he was a Goodnight Scholar, and recipient of an Abrams Scholarship to study the biomechanics of passive ankle exoskeletons. At UNO, Samuel's research will use ultrasound imaging to investigate how muscular force output can be altered through the use of stiff-insoled shoes. This research has the potential to improve human performance in impaired conditions, from fast walking to pathological populations.

R.J. Shute is a second year doctoral research assistant obtaining his Ph.D. in exercise science.  He currently works in the Exercise Physiology Lab and has been the course instructor for optimizing sports performance as well as a teaching assistant for anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, measurement and evaluation, and lab methods.  R.J. received his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with majors in nutrition, exercise, health science and dietetics.  R.J.’s current research project will involve 3 key appetite regulating hormones in differing environmental temperatures during resting conditions.  His research interests include environmental physiology, skeletal muscle physiology, and sports performance.

Roksana Zak received her M.S. in Human Performance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She is a NASA Nebraska Space Grant Fellow and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is currently a doctoral research assistant in the Exercise Physiology laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Omaha under the mentorship of Dr. Slivka. Roksana’s research interests include responses of human skeletal muscle to environmental stimuli, molecular basis of training, and optimizing sports performance. Her currently funded NASA project will investigate the combined effects of resistance exercise and local temperature application on mechanisms related to myogenesis and proteolysis.

Sarah Houston is a senior secondary math education major from Elkhorn, NE attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She is involved in many things on campus, including being an ambassador for the College of Education and Human Sciences and a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band.  Sarah was also a recipient of the UCARE award during her junior year, which funded prior research for the WearTec study.  She plans to continue the research for WearTec with her faculty mentor during the 2016-2017 school year.

Aimee Glandt was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. Her parents are both teachers so she has always wanted to be a teacher. She is attending Chadron State College where she is working towards a degree in Elementary Education. When she was a junior in high school, she started teaching herself Japanese. Aimee is still learning Japanese and plans on going to Japan after she graduates to teach English.

Ashlyn Hanson is currently a junior at Chadron State College.  Originally from Seward, Nebraska, Ashlyn is a student in the Elementary Education program pursuing her degree with an area of concentration in math.  Aside from being a full-time student, Ashlyn is a member of the Chadron State Eagles track and field team and works in the Admissions office as a Call Center Representative and Admissions Ambassador. 

Dylan McCoy is a second year graduate student at Chadron State College, working on a Master’s of Arts Education in Geoscience. Prior to attending CSC, Dylan received his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from William Carey University and an Associate’s of Science from Gillette College. While attending CSC, Dylan has been working as the Graduate Assistant for the mathematics department. This position has afforded him the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses while completing his own graduate course work. Dylan is currently working on a project that will hopefully be utilized on the 2020 Mars Rover mission. For years Finite Element Modeling software has been used throughout engineering and geology as a means to model stress and strain on a structure with known applied force. Our hope is that we can use this same software on a much smaller scale than what it has often been applied to. The objective of our project is to identify and operate a Finite Element Modeling software that is most applicable to the specific rock sample size and characteristics found on the Mars mission. If our endeavor is successful, we should be able to operate the rover’s percussive rotary core sample drill with fair certainty that the samples will be preserved.

Benjamin Enns is working on his second bachelor’s degree at Chadron State College. He received his first bachelors in chemistry from the College of the Ozarks in southern Missouri and his masters in chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently working towards his teaching certificate in general science 7-12 and chemistry 7-12. He hopes to one day be able to teach at a small rural or urban school where he can make the most difference. He always wanted to teach, but had originally planned to go get his PhD in organic chemistry. After one year of graduate school towards his PhD, he decided to pursue high school education instead.

Katie Brake is a junior at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, NE who is majoring in Human Biology (Pre-PA) and minoring in Chemistry. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree and was accepted into the Physician Assistant program at College of Saint Mary in May of 2015, where she will finish with her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Since returning to school, Katie has found an interest in chemistry which she is promoting through tutoring fellow students and minoring in the subject, as well as working as a Research Assistant under Dr. Dunesh Kumari. She is currently and will continue to be working on the synergistic antioxidant properties of phytochemicals with the addition of a polymer to understand and explore potential pharmaceutical benefits. She is also a member of the Pre-PA club as well as the Walk Tall Honors Society, and a participant in College of Saint Mary’s Science Outreach Program which teaches elementary students about scientific concepts and allows them to carry out simple experiments under her instruction.

Lorraine Smith is a sophomore at the Nebraska Indian Community College at Santee. She is studying for her Associates in Science degree. After graduation, she plans to transfer and pursue her degree in Nursing. She is looking at comparing local weather data with local soil pH values. Her focus is how this might correlate with climate change trends that affect our Native American Communities.

Elizabeth Brandt is a sophomore at Nebraska Indian Community College in Santee, NE.  She is working on her Associates in Business Management, the entrepreneurship track. After graduation she plans to transfer to a four-year institution to work on a teaching degree in Family and Consumer Science. She is looking at comparing local weather data and PH change in the soil, focusing on how this might affect our Native community. 

Carl Webster is a sophomore at The Nebraska Indian Community College in Macy, NE. He is currently studying for his Associate General Science Degree and after graduation, plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree. His research is looking at and comparing local weather data with local soil pH values. His main focus is how this might correlate with climate change trends that could affect our Native American Communities.

Shiloh Carroll wishes to pursue a career in Medical Laboratory Sciences. After she graduates, she hopes to work for a local (Iowa or Nebraska) hospital laboratory or clinical laboratory. Ideally, she would like to eventually work in a large cancer research laboratory.

Adam Neumann is currently pursuing an MAE in science with a focus in glacial geology at Chadron State College. He completed his undergraduate degree at Chadron as well, earning a Bachelor of Science in geosciences. After graduation, Adam spent two years working in the oil and gas industry before returning to school. His current research interests are in cosmogenic radionuclide dating and climate studies. Upon graduation, he plans to continue his education in alpine and polar research.

Sandra Jones, a Senior Education major at UNO, is interning at NASA’s Johnson Space Center supporting Microgravity University for Educators (MgUE).  MgUE provides training on microgravity-related concepts, experimental testing using NASA's simulated microgravity test facilities, and post-experience outreach to educators. MgUE accepts proposal submissions from educators willing to perform experiments on behalf of K-12 students in simulated microgravity environments. Experiments involve student-derived solutions to technical problems, or improvements to existing solutions, identified by NASA scientists and engineers who use simulated microgravity environments in their work. Examples include designing a docking device that will lock with no given rotational force, designing a grapple structure to transfer cargo, and/or designs for tethers, satellite/asteroid capture or deployment, and astronaut training.  Sandra is essentially helping teach other educators how to incorporate microgravity into their curricula while providing real testing opportunities in microgravity environments for experiments they have created.

Ben Bevans graduated from Waverly High School last year and is in his Sophomore year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He participates in UNL’s Aerospace Club where he helps lead a design team to  build a competition rocket. Ben is studying Mechanical Engineering and hopes to work in the space industry in the future. Ben has previously been a NASA intern at the NASA Ames Research Facility in California where he studied the aerodynamics of Helicopter rotor tilts.

Joshua Humphrey is a sophomore mechanical engineering major at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  He hopes his prior success in aeronautical and structural engineering in the Olympiad national tournaments will help put him on the path to a career with NASA or in the aerospace industry.

Bricen Margritz is a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln studying mechanical engineering.  He's been involved in 4-H rocketry project for 10 years and is currently part of the UNL Rocketry Team in the Aerospace Club. After graduating, he plans on pursuing a career in aerospace, working for Boeing or a similar company.

Elizabeth Spaulding is a sophomore research assistant at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, majoring in Mathematics minoring in Spanish.  She is interested in technology, language, and the environment. She is currently researching speech perception with Dr. Carrell in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders. This research helps with the advancement of the technology of cochlear implants.

Trent Stobaugh is a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.  He is a member of the UNL High Power Rocketry Team looking to pursue a career in the aerospace industry with a large company such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or Raytheon.

Connor Strange is a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in mechanical engineering.  After graduation, he plans to earn a Masters in aerospace engineering, after which he hopes to be hired on at a private spaceflight company.

Cameron Svoboda is a mechanical engineering major and member of the UNL Rocketry Team.  This his second year on the rocketry team in which he plans to make greater contributions in the design and build process.  Cameron hopes to pursue a career in the field of aerospace, aiming to land a job with SpaceX or NASA in order to put his experience and love of space, rocketry, and exploration to use.

Christina Thibodeau is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in civil engineering with a minor in French.  She is participating on the UNL Aerospace Club’s Rocketry Team for the second year.  After graduation, she wants to pursue structural or transportation engineering in a place where she can continue to practice my language skills

Brandon Warren is a sophomore mechanical engineering student from Lincoln, Nebraska. He is serving as a team lead for the UNL Rocketry Team, participating in IREC 2017. This is his second year on the Rocketry Team. He is also serving as the Outreach Coordinator for the UNL Aerospace Club, and is participating in the NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project. He is looking towards the possibility of a summer internship at NASA, and would like to start a career there, working on future deep-space and Mars exploration projects.

Emily Welchans is a second year undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Civil Engineering.  She is part of the rocketry team and plans on pursuing structural engineering opportunities in the future.  Emily is a science fiction and space enthusiast.

Quinn Brandt is a Sophomore Civil Engineering Student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is a member of the UNL rocketry team.  

Nathan Jensen lives in Lincoln Nebraska where he studies Mechanical Engineering. A junior, he has been a member of the university's Aerospace Club since his freshman year, and has contributed to multiple design teams within that club. His main focus is rocketry and, for the last two years, he has led the university's High Power Rocketry Team. This year, that team, with the aid of NASA Nebraska Space Grant, will launch an experimental rocket to 10,000 feet above ground level. This rocket will carry a scientific payload that continuously predicts the rocket's own flight characteristics given live data. Nathan wishes to work for NASA after he graduates in 2018. He is interested in pursuing exciting, problem-solving projects that inspire today's kids to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.

Jarod Jones is studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Miracle Kanu-Asiegbu is a junior mechanical engineering student interested in propulsion, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, and material science.  In summer 2016, he conducted research at Florida State University on 3D compressible circular cylinder flow. After graduating, he plans to obtain a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and hopes to work on propulsion systems. 

Grant King is a junior at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, majoring in mechanical engineering.  He is a member of UNL's Rocketry Team which is part of the Aerospace Club. He is excited to work with this year's team in designing the rocket for the IREC competition and would like to work for NASA upon graduation.

Nathan Mann is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with additional minors in Biomedical Engineering and Robotics Engineering. He is a member of the High-Powered Rocketry Team, where he works to design a rocket to fly to a certain altitude while also adhering to several competition parameters. Nathan has participated in undergraduate research focused on robotic laparoscopic devices.  After graduation he hopes to begin a career in the medical device industry.

Dillon Margritz is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying mechanical engineering. For 10 years he’s been active with 4-H model rocketry projects. At UNL he became a member of the Aerospace Club and joined the Rocketry Team.  He is also a member of the Robotic Mining Competition team. Upon graduation, he hopes to work for Boeing or other aerospace companies.

Michael Pieper is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is majoring in math and philosophy, with a minor in computer science. After completing his bachelors, he plans on getting a PhD in Mathematics.

Alex Rogge earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Physics from Doane College.  He is currently attending the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Alex is a member of the Aerospace Club where he is currently helping with the construction of a rocket for the 2017 Spaceport America Cup competition in New Mexico.  The rocket will reach a height of 10,000 feet above ground level and is designed to provide live predictions of the flight profile once the rocket is launched.

Kenneth Thomason has always loved aviation, space exploration, and science.  He is continuing his studies in these areas at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Connor Vokoun is a Chemical Engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Linclon.  He has been active in the UNL ChemE Car Team and is currently a member of the UNL Rocketry Club.  Connor is helping design and build a competition rocket designed to reach an altitude 10,000 above ground while carrying a payload, delivering real time, flight trajectory projections.

Cole Carlson is a Mechanical Engineering major, minoring in German, who hopes to continue into higher education with a preference for naval architecture.

Evan Robert Crosse has always been interested in engineering, especially in airplanes. He continues to pursue his passion through a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and hopes to land a career in the aerospace industry after graduation.

Christopher Fisher is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He is actively involved in UNL’s Aerospace Club and a member of the competitive Design/Build/Fly Team.

Shaylee Harms is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL). She is a member of Design, Build, Fly (DBF), where she helps to design a plane to fly in competition that takes place in April 2017. Shaylee is currently an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for two courses taken by engineering students at UNL. Within these classes, she helps prospective engineers develop important skills they can use in their future careers. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Shaylee plans to pursue a career in aerospace.

April Akiko Inamura is an Electrical Engineering major, minoring in Japanese at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She is a member of UNL’s IEEE and Aerospace Clubs.  April is part of the Design / Build / Fly team learning the basics of aeronautics and aircraft construction. 

Liam Kruse is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln freshman majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Computer Science and Business. He is a member of the UNL aerospace club with interests in military aviation and drones.

Matthew Lyons is an engineering student in his junior year.  He is studying mechanical engineering with the hopes of pursuing a graduate degree in aerospace engineering.

Brady Mailand is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has a passion for mechanical systems and enjoys working on computers and anything mechanical.  He hopes to create cool, useful new things that will improve the lives of those who make and use them.

Justin Mescher is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Mechanical Engineering.  He is a member of the Design/Build/Fly team creating a remote controlled airplane designed to complete specified competitive missions.  After graduation, Justin hopes to work for NASA to help develop devices to advance aeronautics and astronautics.

Tony Pham is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who began his career as a media technician at the UNL library.  This experience has allowed him to develop solid technical and computer skills.

Jacob Quint is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has interests in aerospace, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and nuclear fusion. Jacob is the President of the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and team lead for the Design, Build, Fly (DBF) competition through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He also participates in undergraduate biomedical research studying infant heart valves. Jacob hopes to pursue a graduate degree in nuclear or mechanical engineering to help solve energy and propulsion needs of space travel.

Juliana Rodriguez attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She is pursuing a degree in Biological Systems Engineering and hopes to eventually work as a mission specialist with NASA. Juliana is a member of UNL’s Aerospace club to which she plans to contribute through the balance of her academic career.

Joshua Sorensen is University of Nebraska-Lincoln undergraduate with prior experience in remote control aircraft construction.  He is currently a member of UNL’s Design, Build, Fly competition team.

Orion Vogt is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He is a member of UNL’s Aerospace Club and participates on the Design/Build/Fly Team.

Jared Soundy is a Ph.D student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has a Bachelors Degree (B.A.) in Computer Science from Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His research interests are delay and disruption tolerant networks. His research explores networking in space.

Alisha Bevins is a junior Mechanical Engineering Major with a minor in Robotics at UNL. She is doing research with the NIMBUS Lab, with an emphasis on Human-Robot Interaction. Alisha is also involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Patrick Collins is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  With a well-rounded background in robotics, he is an active member of UNL’s Robotic Mining Competition team.

Nathan Gebers is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Nathan followed his passion for math and logic into science, which he pursues as a Mechanical Engineering major.

Tyler Haas is a junior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a member of UNL’s Robotic Mining Competition team and hopes to use his RMC experience to help make the world a better place.

Zak Harper attends the University of Nebraska Lincoln.  He is junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Rosemary Hernandez is a senior at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln studying Electrical Engineering with a minor in robotics. She is the president of the UNL Aerospace Club where she is a team lead for the NASA Robotic Mining Competition team and a member of the Rocketry team. While being part of these teams, she gets the opportunity to design and build a tele-operated mining rover that can navigate Martian terrain to mine and collect Martian dust and to design and build a rocket with a working scientific payload that can launch up to 10,000 ft.

Abbie Jarratt is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently enrolled in the Jeffery S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management and is majoring in Computer Science with minors in Business Management and Mathematics. For the UNL Aerospace - UAV team, she has been a Co-lead, focusing on the details of the IARC Competition that the team will attend in August. Abbie is looking forward to continuing her education and exploring new technologies while developing skills that will aid in advancements for mankind.

Nick Johs is majoring in Computer Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He works at a local startup called Powderhook and is an active member of UNL’s UAV team.

Grant Phillips is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He is an active member in UNL’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics chapter, currently working on the AIAA Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team.  The team is competing in the International Aerial Robotics competition in August of 2017.  Grant plans to further his education with a graduate degree in Engineering after completing his bachelors.

Elliot Sandfort is a junior Computer Engineering major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a student in the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management.  He is a team lead for the UNL Aerospace Club's UAV team.  The team is developing software to detect and track objects, as well as control autonomous flight in a drone.

Daric Teske is a junior majoring in Computer Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, concentrating on the intersection of business and technology. Although focused on technology development, he is able to enjoy his passion for space through involvement with UNL's Aerospace Club. He is currently leader of the UAV design team, focused on organizing the team to work effectively and helping out with the software side of an autonomous drone.

Garrett Ulmer is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying computer engineering.    He is also a member of UNL's aerospace club working on hardware for the UAV team

Emily Wagner is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Electrical Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Business Management. She aspires to pursue a career in designing and creating programmable electronics hardware. In addition to UNL’s UAV club, Emily participates on UNL's Engineering Student Advisory Board. 

Manisha Kalaga is a pre-med student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at UNL with a minor in Biochemistry.  She hopes to continue her education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and eventually become a neonatologist.  Manisha has worked as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Surinder K. Batra in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and is currently an undergraduate researcher in the Microbiology Department with Dr. Paul Blum at UNL.  Manisha is also a member of the UNL Rocketry team in the Aerospace club helping build a rocket for the Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition.