Six College Students to Spend Summer at McDonald Observatory

26 May 2005

FORT DAVIS, Texas — Six college students from around the nation will spend this summer living and working at McDonald Observatory in West Texas, a major research arm of the University of Texas at Austin. They were chosen from among 60 applicants for the positions.

 

The 10-week program runs from June to August. The students will live at the Observatory in the Astronomer's Lodge and work side-by-side with engineers and astronomers.

The program is run by astronomer Matthew Shetrone, and funded by the National Science Foundation through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Details about the students:

Amy Westfall is a junior at Texas Tech University majoring in philosophy, physics, and mathematics. Amy will be working with astronomers Brian Roman and Sergey Rostopchin on a project to create a database system to replace and upgrade the Hobby-Eberly Telescope's night operations computer system.

Timothy Hudson is a junior at Sam Houston State University majoring in computer science and mathematics. He will be working with engineer Jim Fowler to create a new user-friendly telescope control system for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

Johnny J. Mendias III is a junior at Texas Tech University from Marfa, Texas. He is majoring in mechanical engineering and mathematics. Johnny will be working with engineer Paul Peterson to create a photon-counting system to assist in the Hobby-Eberly Telescope's research programs that look for planets orbiting stars other than the Sun.

Mary Reiman is a junior at the University of Wyoming majoring in astrophysics and mathematics. She will be working with astronomers Carlos Allende Prieto and Matthew Shetrone on a study of giant stars in globular clusters - dense, round clusters of up to tens of thousands of stars.

Tim Weinzirl of Des Moines, Iowa is a junior at Drake University, majoring in physics, astronomy, and mathematics. He will be working with astronomer Steve Odewahn on a study of outer regions of nearby galaxies, and computer modeling the properties of these galaxies.

Steven Warren is a junior at San Diego State University majoring in astronomy and mathematics. He will be working with astronomer Matthew Shetrone on a study of the enigmatic stars called “blue stragglers,” looking for clues to their origins.

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