College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Six NASA scholarships awarded to undergraduate students


Six students from the College of Engineering were awarded NASA scholarships for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters. The funding comes through the Iowa Space Grant Consortium program.

Recipients are Dalton Groath, sophomore in aerospace engineering; Jacob Harry, senior in aerospace engineering; Christian Setzer, senior in aerospace engineering and physics; Elmer Tse, junior in aerospace engineering; Miriam Wilson, freshman in aerospace engineering; and Ryan Hall, senior in materials science engineering.

The NASA Iowa Space Grant Scholarship and Fellowship Program provides opportunities to students in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—disciplines that support the mission of NASA.

It encourages involvement of full-time students in ISGC-funded research at Iowa State University, Drake University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

Fellowships are reserved for graduate students, while undergraduate students are awarded scholarships that require an independent study course involving certain areas of research.

“The students are assigned a mentor, and they interact with our research-based program on campus,” said Carmen Fuchs, who is part of the support staff at ISGC. Fuchs manages the statewide program for the director located at the University of Iowa.

This year’s research program is about asteroid deflection, so most of the students will be working with Bong Wie, the Vance D. Coffman Faculty Chair Professor in aerospace and director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center on campus.

Setzer, who is familiar with the program having received the same scholarship the last two years, has previously worked on the Yarkovsky Effect at the ADRC, researching particle-object generation for use with Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics codes.

“This year, I will work on validating SPH codes used for modeling the disruption of asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth,” said Setzer.

Hall, however, will work with Nicola Bowler, professor of materials science and engineering, and Samy Madbouly, research assistant professor of materials science and engineering, on a different grant sponsored by the Iowa NASA EPSCoR program.

The project will focus on characterizing multi-walled carbon nanotubes modified Bisphenol E Cyanate Ester blends.

“The purpose of the project is to test out the properties of the material so that people in industry who are interested in utilizing it will know the material’s strengths and limitations,” said Hall.

He added that the material would primarily be used for military or aerospace applications such as aircraft wings because it is “pretty strong and has great heat resistance.” Hall also mentioned that it is very expensive.

Hall is the only student working on the project, which is funded by the Department of Defense through the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.