Honors Research

Honors students have the opportunity to apply for small research grants to aid in their independent and directed research projects.

A Proposed Collaboration Between LIGO-Virgo and Swift to Improve the Chances to Detect Gravitational Waves from Core Collapse Supernovae

Student: Kiranjyot (Jasmine) Gill
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michele Zanolin with support from Marek Szczepanczyk

Kiranjyot (Jasmine) GillThe mysterious mechanism behind supernova explosions could be explained by detecting the corresponding gravitational wave emissions by the laser interferometer gravitational wave observatory, LIGO. The studies of the electromagnetic emission from core-collapse supernovae, host galaxies in relation to star formation rate and dust obscuration, and of supernovae associated with long term gamma ray bursts have all been successfully conducted this summer by having the means to maintain communication counterparts at Caltech, MIT, and the University of Urbino in Italy.Concluding the LIGO-Virgo-SWIFT conference held in Urbino, Italy, a multi-year plan was essentially laid out with the drafting of a paper that focuses on involving the astronomical community in the gravitational wave search with the LIGO-Virgo collaboration using satellites such as Swift.

“This experience was simply unforgettable. Being surrounded by internationally renowned scientists, I not only grew as a research scientist but also as a person. Through the interactions that were slowly cultivated over the summer, I now possess scientific contacts situated all around the world. I came out knowing my chosen field of astrophysics and particle physics in a completely different light.”


High Cycle Fatigue Behavior of Nitinol

Student: Bryce Milnes
Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Lanning

Bryce MilnesThis student-led project examines the effects of repeat usage on properties of Nitinol, a nickel-titanium shape memory alloy discovered in the 1960’s. Nitinol has found widespread use in aerospace, biomedical, and other engineering applications due to its unique shape memory properties. This research is intended to facilitate the design of safer and more effective Nitinol components by gathering data that will improve the understanding of this alloy’s properties.

“Working on this research project has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my college career and possibly my life so far. With the help of faculty mentors from the College of Engineering and the AXFAB lab directors, I have been able to develop solutions to problems I never thought I would be able to understand. I feel that my ability to face difficult engineering challenges and confidence when exploring the unknown have greatly improved as a result of working on this project. However, the fact that this research will contribute to the development of safer and more advanced shape memory devices is for me the most important aspect of my research.”


On-Board Flight Control Package for BeagleBone Black

Student: Chad Reinart
Faculty Mentor: Douglas Isenberg

Chad ReinartThe goal of developing an On-Board Flight Control Package is to create a system that determines the orientation and location of a vehicle then uses that information to control the vehicle. This package relies on the computing power of a Linux based development board called a BeagleBone Black to both gather the data and implement the vehicle controls. This system can be used on a wide range of vehicles including the high-altitude balloons made in the experimental space systems class as well as senior capstone projects.

“Working on this project has taught me a lot. Not only about topics such as programming and circuit design, but also about perseverance. I started this project with very little knowledge of what I was trying to accomplish, and it took lots of hard work and research to overcome my obstacles and accomplish my goals.”

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Dr. Anne Boettcher
Undergraduate Research Institute and Honors Program Director

Katie Greene
Assistant Director, Honors Program Director of Academic Advising, COAS & CSI