Another Symposium Anyone?

To start off, I didn’t win the poster competition. But inside sources did mention that I had a high score! But to rewind, since I had written a paper for the IAC (check out my other blog “Stepping Out for Italy”), I also made a poster on the same topic to submit in the 5th Annual Von Braun Symposium Poster Competition. As a side note, I think it’s almost mandatory to have long titles for anything professional, followed by acronyms, to have it be successful… just a thought.  The symposium was an update on US space developments like NASA’s future plans, commercialization of space, meeting the industry (or non-government companies), etc… And in the middle of the week, they had a nice evening at Burritt on the Mountain on Monte Sano for the Poster Competition, in a brand new hall they had completed just weeks earlier! Now considering that this is my senior year, I’ve been in Huntsville for fairly long and I had never heard of the Burritt on the Mountain or that apparently, it has one of the nicest views of Huntsville and the rocket in the city! The whole evening was professional but very relaxed. We had a very fancy refreshment display and an open bar, for those who’re able… Also, a chance to see everyone else’s posters, to meet everyone who had come to participate in the Symposium and network. I met many NASA people as well as two German Space Agency representatives so my contact list received a boost! So even though I didn’t win the Kindle, it was a fun Symposium that will definitely be showing up on my resume.

Categories: Career, Research, What Matters

Stepping Out For Italy

I recently got a chance to go to Naples, Italy. Yes, it was pretty cool, I had fun, but I was not a tourist. Actually, I had been working for the trip since the past February! That was when I had decided to submit an abstract for the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in Naples, Italy. That was a commitment. I am a business major and love my Business Administration Building so just going to the interest meeting for the conference was an adventure, because I got lost looking for the building and then –  finding the right room.  I couldn’t write a professional research manuscript alone, in a field I wasn’t familiar with, about the space industry.  After knocking on few doors,  I was introduced to two business professors who were already looking at a NASA collaborative project which I could work on!


The work I did in the next few months was completely new to me and challenging but after I finished it, I couldn’t wait to present it a the largest international space conference in the world! The flight was long to Naples but there was no time to be tired since we only had a day and a half to accommodate and look around, before the conference started. I met the head of DLR (yes, I know all the space agency acronyms now; that is the German) and their many representatives, had dinners with the initial CEO of a company which would become the Swiss Space Agency, ESA representatives and so many more. I found out how I can work in companies around the world or their USA branches, while staying within my field. I presented my paper and listened to countless other presentations in every field and became an expert on all the different places to eat between our hotel and the conference center. I boarded the flight back to Huntsville with a year’s worth of experiences in one short week, but remembering that UAHuntsville had  more to offer.


Categories: Career, Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville

IAC Naples, Italy!

Hey all,

I will be going to Italy in a week for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). It’s a huge conference where everyone involved in space technology will attend including NASA, JAXA, ESA, and the leaders of major space organizations.

I’m going with 35 other students who were selected by the IAC to present. We have an awesome staff who has worked hard to get us there and have made us better professionals.

I will be presenting a paper under the space history section “The Dr. Wernher von Braun Vision”.  Dr. Von Braun is one of my idols and was a brilliant rocket engineer and worked here in the Rocket City!

I’ll post about the many adventures I’m sure to have!

Categories: Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

Office Space

Been working in the office for the past two weeks and we’ve been on a couple of smaller excursions since then but I’ve been doing a lot of reading and taking of notes. It’s nice to have my own desk and workspace and I’ve got decent access to some reading material through the UAH library site and the FSU library here has some good, if not a bit antiquated, books for my purposes.

I think so far I have made some good friends that hopefully I’ll be able to keep long term. My home-stay family is great. They give me enough freedom and they are interesting enough that our conversations never lack. I am a bit sad however, that one week from Sat. Conchita (my home-stay mother) and Merce (her sister) will be going to Barcelona and I will not see them for the duration of my stay here. Conchita needs to meet with some surgeons over there to see if they can restore her sight. I really hope things go well because she can see well enough to get around but is unable to read books and that is something that she loved to do. They have all helped me so much and even told me that if I am ever in Spain, Panama, Arg. Chile ( the list goes on) that I have a place to stay for as long as I like. I would love to be able to stay in contact with them if not just for the sake of knowing them.

Categories: Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

La marea roja

I’ve been to a few games in my life but watching Panama beat Cuba in Panama was as the Panamanians say “¡que ponchera!” We sat directly behind the “band” which was basically just a bunch of guys that brought in drums and trumpets and organized themselves to play for the whole game. They were all wearing shirts with 12 and barra roja so that might be some club or something. Soooo many missed opportunities but all you need is 1 goal and they did it. That was for sure the most intense game I have ever seen.

Categories: Research, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

La segunda semana

Today was our first day of the short Spanish classes. Its gonna be a challange teaching them with only hour and a half a day but I think we can do it. I wasted at least 20 dollars today when charging my mobile becuase I put in the wrong phone number and didnt notice until too late, the second time (I know, fool me twice…but I needed the time) I used the correct number but still havent received the time on my phone.

Categories: Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

El Tercer Día

Well I’m not really sure how to start this thing, we’ve been here for a few days now and everybody is having a blast though it is a bit exhausting. Its already interesting to note some of the differences between Panameño and the other dialects that I know. I always think its funny how people will create a community and make something very common into something very uncommon for example “tajetas de juego son baratas” and “jugo es chicha” so even a proficient speaker might have much to learn. So far the two separate hotels have had great staff, very personable and eager to please us and I even got to practice some of my German with the owner of “Los Capitanes” in El Valle.

Categories: Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

Panama Excursions!

We’ve been on quite a few excursions the past few days and seen a good bit of the surrounding provinces of Panamá. Yesterday we went to a water filtration plant and Santa Rosa sugar cane plantation. I had never given that much thought to sugar cane and the process it goes through. Our tour guide was so informative and funny. He said he had been there for 30 years and remembers when they opposed Noriega and the troops came by to take the plantation.While he did not get into exact details he told us that Noriega and his troops were not successful.

Then today we went to the canal and saw a ship as it was passing through the Miraflores lochs. That was pretty neat. I had never given any thought to this country nor the canal until we planned for this trip and learning about its complex history has been an adventure.

Categories: Research, Study Abroad, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

What I Do When I Have Nothing Urgent To Do

This past week culminated with the end of what was the next step in my Ph.D. pursuance, the so-called Qualifying Exams (Quals).  Passing the Quals requires writing a detailed research proposal, submitting this proposal to your Graduate Committee two weeks prior to the scheduled exam date, receiving and responding to written questions that were spawned from your Committee’s reading of your proposal and then finally presenting and subsequent questioning from friends, family, professors, and your Committee.   All in all this process is quite stressful and requires a great amount of attention to complete well, so almost needless to say I felt as if I had no other life outside of my research this semester.  But it was all worth it – I successfully passed my Quals and now I am ABD – all but Dissertation!!!!


With the relief of being finished with the Quals settling in shortly after noon on Friday, I realized that now I can have some fun – and oh boy did I have fun this past weekend!  On Saturday, my family (who had come down to support my exam) and I took a short road trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee to eat at the renowned Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House and to tour Jack Daniel’s whiskey distillery.  The combination of entertaining hosts and hostesses who bestowed all guests with typical good ole Southern hospitality, fascinating historical facts and delicious food was definitely a much-appreciated escape for both my mind and body.


Now, not wanting to let go of my glorious stress free weekend just yet, I also took an even shorter trip to a local strawberry farm Monday evening with a good friend of mine.  I do not believe that there is any negative aspect to going berry pickin’ with a friend – the slow-paced atmosphere of a farm, wonderful soft breezes, low setting sun, delicious aromas, full bucket of bright red ripe strawberries – the gleeful tangible results of your efforts.  Pure bliss.  I cannot wait to take a few moments out of my, now busy again, schedule to return to the local strawberry patch!


Categories: Graduate Studies, Research, Social Life, UAHuntsville, Uncategorized, What Matters

One Student’s Incredible Opportunity While Studying at UAHuntsville

There are many incredible career-specific opportunities that are available to UAHuntsville students. As a graduate student in the Physics Department, I have had the unique experience of traveling to a radio telescope array in California in order to gain on-site knowledge of the scientific processes that directly relate to my research.


For my dissertation research, I observe and analyze radio data for a sample of galaxy clusters to determine cluster masses. All of my radio data has been collected using the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) located in eastern California within the Inyo Mountain range. CARMA is operated by a team of full-time professionals who work year round and by a rotating schedule of student observers, who perform the daily functions of the array for a week at a time with at least two observers working together at all times.


I have been to CARMA three times now, working as an observer, and have learned more about radio astronomy through these weeklong shifts than I believe would be possible by just working in my office in Huntsville for several years. This is just an example of the extraordinary opportunities that are available to students at UAHuntsville!

Categories: Research, UAHuntsville, What Matters

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