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UTSI 2018 Summer Research Intern Program Concludes

The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s (UTSI) 2018 Research Intern Program drew to a close on Friday, August 10, following a busy summer of activities. The program, which is jointly funded by UTSI and the Center for Laser Applications (CLA), focuses on providing undergraduate students with research experiences.  This year, eleven interns, representing seven schools across the US, participated in the program. Each intern was assigned to the supervision of one or more UTSI professors and given a long-term research project to complete over the course of the summer. At the end of their nine-week appointment, the interns summarized their research in individual final reports and presented their findings in short presentations that were open to the entire UTSI campus. The interns worked on various research projects included the following: electrospray thrusters, synthesis of iron nanoparticles, pulsed laser deposition of glass-ceramic materials, water electrolysis and ink catalysts for fuel cells, computational mechanics, and research relating to the campus’ Mach 2 and Mach 4 wind tunnels.

The interns were also offered several educational opportunities over the course of the summer. During early seminar sessions, faculty members gave brief overviews of their research at UTSI, so the interns would have a more complete picture of the research occurring at UTSI. Later seminar sessions focused on giving the interns an idea of what to expect from graduate school; these sessions included selecting and applying to graduate schools, communication (conference presentations, journal articles, theses, etc.), the review process, and grant writing. A career panel, in which the students could ask a diverse panel of researchers’ questions about their careers, concluded the seminar series.

The interns had many chances to interact socially with members of the UTSI community. They participated in several student activities including sailing with the Boat Club and “Game Nights” with the Gaming Club. A hike to Greeter Falls organized by the UTSI Running Club, was particularly well received. The interns also attended a social mixer where they were joined by summer interns from neighboring Arnold Air Force Development Center (AEDC), as well as UTSI students, faculty, and staff.  The UTSI family wishes the interns much success in their future endeavors. Two of the interns, James Chism and Samuel Smith, will continue their research at UTSI this fall as graduate students.

R. Lee Leonard was the coordinator for this year’s program. Participating faculty members included Reza Abedi, Jacqueline Johnson, Phil Kreth, Trevor Moeller, John Schmisseur, and Feng-Yuan Zhang. For more information regarding the UTSI Summer Research Intern Program, please contact Leonard at 931-393-7540.

Written by Lee Leonard and Meghan Morris