GL welcomed six wonderful interns this summer and DTM welcomed five. Their diligence and determination impressed us all summer. We know that they will do incredible things in the future.

GL welcomed new BBR Summer Intern Sophia Economon in May. Sophia joined us from the Florida Institute of Technology to work with Drs. Hazen, Cody, and Morrison to categorize data from a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer of various organic compounds. She made interesting discoveries in the data analysis this summer and we greatly looked forward to her presentation on "Frequency Distributions in Complex Organic Molecular Mixtures."

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose Carnegie Science for my internship because it has an intriguing variety of different scientists and disciplines. I have always been passionate about astrophysics and geology and I saw this internship as a way to pursue both. Prior to beginning at Carnegie Science, I was presented with a range of fascinating ideas for research and I couldn’t wait to get involved.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

My experience with this internship has been an extremely valuable one. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with scientists in my fields of interest and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to conduct research in a laboratory setting. I have been able to expand my interests and knowledge into biology and chemistry through studying the distributions of compounds in organic molecular mixtures. I was also able to gain hands-on experience with using a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer to analyze frequency spectra and compound identifications. 

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This internship has influenced me to pick up classes in biology and chemistry at my university. I was not previously interested in either discipline, but my time at Carnegie showed me how much these areas of science cross over into astrophysics. I would like to keep branching out from astrophysics because the scientists I met at Carnegie are very cross-disciplinary and collaborative. I admire this way of thinking and I feel it is more indicative of real-world science than anything else I’ve been a part of. 

Sophia Economon presented a poster on "Frequency Distributions in Complex Organic Molecular Mixtures." She worked with Drs. Bob Hazen, George Cody, and Shaunna Morrison on this data project to look for patterns in the distributions of chemical reactions on Earth.

 

GL welcomed BBR Summer Intern Eli Harrison back to campus. Eli is a student from the Landon School. He is working with Dr. George Cody on a "Kinetics of organic solids formation in chondritic planetesimals" project. Eli's research interests include the origins of life, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering. His personal interests include lacrosse.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship? 

I chose to work at Carnegie Science for my internship because of the groundbreaking research being done everyday. My sister worked with Dr. Cody and I came to continue on her experiments. My interest in the sciences and math allowed me to appreciate the opportunity to work with Dr. Cody and do something that has never been done before.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

My experience at BBR is always positive and supportive. There is always a friendly and kind face that greets you and makes sure everything is running smoothly.

Last year, I worked with Dr. Cody on the reverse Krebs cycle and prebiotic organic chemistry. This year, I worked with Dr. Cody on the kinetics of organic solid formation in chondritic planetesimals.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future? 

This internship and BBR have strengthened my desire to go into the field of science.

 

GL welcomed Samantha "Sammy" Howell as a BBR Summer Intern this year to study “Database Development and Analysis of Stellar Silicon Carbide Grains.” Sammy joined us from Washington College, where she is a physics major with minors in computer science and psychology. Her research interests include materials science and environmental science. She did an apprenticeship in the chemical engineering department of the University of Maryland through the Army Educational Outreach Program after her sophomore year last summer. She worked on optimizing synthesis of zeolite (microcrystalline aluminosilicates) that are used in a range of applications, including molecular sieves.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose Carnegie Science because of the wide range of research happening on campus. I love how scientists have the opportunity to really push the boundaries of our knowledge of how the world works and ask challenging questions that many institutions deem too risky to pursue. 

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

I have had a great time this summer! I learned so much about astrophysics, mineralogy, and data science; even though there was a steep learning curve, I am overjoyed by the new material I was exposed to over my ten weeks here and have built a strong arsenal of tools to use in my future academic and professional career. The friendly and collaborative environment on campus made my experience here even better, and I am very grateful for all the people I’ve met and worked with this summer. 

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This internship has shown me that there are tons of career paths that I didn’t even know existed and that there isn’t one straight path to get to a career. I know I want to apply whatever I do to environmental advocacy, so I will take the skills that the people at Carnegie have taught me and use them to help the planet. 

4. Any other thoughts?

Thank you to everyone that made this internship such a great experience! I am sad to leave, but I will treasure this experience always. I really appreciate all the great advice I received about graduate school and career options in STEM programs. 

Samantha Howell presented a poster on "Database Development and Analysis of Stellar Silicon Carbide Grains" with her coauthors, Drs. Asmaa Boujibar and Shuang Zhang. She worked with Drs. Larry Nittler, Bob Hazen, and Shaunna Morrison on this project to collect, refine, and analyze the large and growing data resources on remarkable microscopic grains of “stellar minerals”—crystals that formed billions of years ago in the energetic atmospheres of old stars.

 

Ciara Jacobs joined GL as a BBR Summer Intern this year. Ciara comes from the STEM Program at The Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, where she also participated in the Central Maryland Physics Olympics. Ciara is working with Dr. Dionysis Foustoukos on “The role of pH and redox on the evolution of meteoritic organic matter.” In her spare time, Ciara enjoys debate, Model OAS, playing softball and squash, painting, drawing, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and Martha's Table.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose Carnegie Science for my summer internship because I am potentially interested in a career involving chemistry and research. I knew that this would be a valuable experience because of the connections I would make and the laboratory experience I would gain. Since I live nearby, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to spend my summer doing something I am interested in. 

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

This internship has been so much fun, and I have learned so much. At first, I was intimidated by being one of the only high school interns, but I soon realized how welcoming BBR is. I knew nothing about meteorites before starting this internship, but my project with Dionysis has taught me so much about laboratory work (and Excel!). 

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This internship has solidified I am definitely interested in pursuing a career in the sciences, specifically chemistry. 

 

Janneke Kovoor joined GL as a BBR Summer Intern in June. Janneke worked with Dr. Dionysis Foustoukos on “Biogeochemical processes at the ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal system of Mid-Atlantic Ridge.” She will study cell biology as an honors college student at the University of Maryland in the fall. She graduated from Winston Churchill High School, where she wrote for the school newspaper and participated in debate. Before moving to Maryland, Janneke lived in Connecticut, where she attended a Science and Technology Magnet High School, and participated in Ocean Bowl, Math Team, and the HOSA/Biomedical Club. Janneke was selected to participate in the Perry Outreach Program organized by the Perry Initiative. This program was a series of workshops organized by female orthopedic surgeons at Yale University to encourage young women to pursue the medical specialty of orthopedics. Janneke also was selected as a scholar for Project Oceanology's Summer Marine Studies Program at UCONN at Avery Point last summer. She plays the violin, cello, piano (as well as flute and saxophone!), and she speaks fluent Dutch.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I did a Google search earlier this year for "high school summer internships" and Carnegie was the result that checked a lot of my boxes: I definitely wanted to do science, get some lab experience, and have a flexible schedule.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

I've been analyzing water samples from around hydrothermal vents for various molecules and isotopes, the presence of which could indicate biological activity. I've learned basic chemistry lab techniques and because of this internship, I'll be going into my first year at UMD with more practical experience than the majority of freshmen students.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

Before coming into this internship I already knew that I wanted to go into science and do research, but this experience has given me more of an in-depth look at what that would really entail and as a result has reinforced my interest in doing so. 

Janneke Kovoor presented a poster on "Biogeochemical processes at the ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal system of Mid-Atlantic Ridge." In this project, she worked with Dr. Dionysis Foustoukos to study the geochemistry of hydrothermal vent fluids evolving during deep-crustal water/rock interactions and near-surface interactions with subsurface biosphere.

 

Alexander Skender joined GL as a BBR Summer Intern to research "Thermal conductivity and reflectivity measurements of potassium chloride." Alex studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In his free time, Alex enjoys running cross country and track, averaging 70 miles each week.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose Carnegie Science for my internship because it was a great opportunity for me to get experience doing research at a prestigious institution that does fundamental research. It was also an opportunity to learn in a way that is not available in a classroom.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

This has been a great learning experience for me. I have been researching the thermal conductivity of Ir and KCl at high pressures and temperatures. I have learned about constructing diamond anvil cells and using a laser system to calculate the thickness and thermal conductivity. I have also learned many other skills important for working in any scientific field.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This internship has confirmed my interest to pursue a graduate degree and continue doing research in physics.

4. Any other thoughts?

Irina was a pleasure to work with and a great mentor.

Alexander Skender presented a poster on "Thermal conductivity and reflectivity measurements of potassium chloride." In this project, he worked with Drs. Alex Goncharov and Irina Chuvashova on measuring thermal conductivity and refractive index of KCl and Ir at high pressures and high temperatures.

 

John H. Fitzgerald joined our group of BBR Summer Interns after graduating from St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Virginia. John will attend the University of Virginia in the fall.

Fitzgerald will be working with both Dr. Conel Alexander at DTM and Dr. Dionysis Foustoukos at GL and will participate in the disaggregating of a large sample of the Murchison meteorite. Some of this material will be used to make a large residue of Murchison insoluble organic material (plus presolar grains) for research by our BBR scientists.

Last summer, Fitzgerald worked as a water purification chemist intern for ChemTreat, Inc.  He has also had experience working as a laboratory assistant at the University of Richmond, where he collaborated with three chemistry professors to research the synthesis of polysubstituted pyrroles and azaisoflavinoids in continuous flow. During this period, he contributed a paper and poster about the findings of the experiments at the 2018 ACS Conference in Boston.

 

BBR Summer Intern Jackson Fuson is working with Drs. Alycia Weinberger and Meredith MacGregor at DTM. His project involves searching sub-millimeter data for stellar flares from Proxima Centauri and characterizing the properties of the flares he finds.  

Jackson comes to us from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), from where he will graduate with a BS in Physics in June 2020. His experience includes being an undergraduate research assistant in the department of physics, and his computer skills include coding languages, C, C++, Python, etc. He is the recipient of a Rotary award in music in 2015, and is a member of the UCI wind ensemble. 

 

Isabella Marku joined us as a BBR Summer Intern with Dr. Alycia Weinberger at DTM.    

During her internship, Marku will be working on comparing the ultraviolet and optical/H-alpha spectra of stellar flares from Proxima Centauri.  

Isabella (Bella) was a summer intern at DTM for two summers when she was in high school. She spent her first summer working with Shaun Hardy in the library, and her second summer with Alycia Weinberger. She has now completed her second year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as a computer science major, and returns to us once again!

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose to come to Carnegie this summer because I worked here for two summers in high school, and I already knew that I loved the people and the work environment. I was also really excited about the project that Dr. Weinberger mentioned to me when we were discussing initial internship details.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

This internship has been a great experience for me so far. I've been doing mostly data analysis and writing my own Python scripts, which has been great practice for me since I'm a Computer Science major. Before this summer, I only considered myself a novice at Python, but now I'm much more comfortable with it.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

Working here has definitely reassured me that I want to do data analysis after I graduate. I'm not positive about the type of data analysis yet, whether it be astronomy-related or geology-related or even analysis entirely outside the world of scientific research—that's the exciting part of being a Computer Science major, in my opinion. Almost no other major provides the same level of freedom and flexibility.

4. Any other thoughts?

The best part about this internship is that every day I'm surrounded by helpful, hardworking, and brilliant individuals. It's so inspiring to work alongside people like that. Thank you all for being so welcoming and supportive of me! 

 

Derek Nie joined DTM as a BBR Summer Intern after graduating from Thomas S. Wootton High School. Nie's experience includes interning at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, being Captain of the Science Olympiad Team, and earning many awards in table tennis.

Derek worked with Dr. Peter Driscoll on the analysis and visualization of 3D numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations in application to the evolution of Earth's magnetic field.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

I chose Carnegie Science for my internship because I was interested in learning more about geo-magnetism. My Honors Physics teacher back in high school was actually a geophysicist and he sometimes introduced us to topics in geophysics like dipole reversals. It was very interesting, but I never had a chance to go more in depth with geophysics under a mentor until this internship.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

My experience has been great. My wonderful mentor, Dr. Peter Driscoll, has taught me a lot about the concepts and technical details of dynamos creating and sustaining magnetic fields in planets. As for what I've been doing, I've coded many scripts to make movies and insightful graphs about the data that Dr. Driscoll makes with his dynamo simulations.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This internship has helped me learn a lot more about geophysics, and I'm more likely than ever to pursue a research interest in geophysics throughout college and beyond.

4. Any other thoughts?

Carnegie Science is a really welcoming and enriching place, and I think that all the other interns would agree with me on that. It's been great being here!

 

Lara Stroud joined DTM as a BBR Summer Intern to work with Drs. Alycia Weinberger and Meredith MacGregor.  

Lara will graduate from Georgetown Day School in 2020, and last year interned at the Naval Research Laboratory in the Chemistry Department. She will be working on a subset of the Proxima Centauri flare rate data.

1. Why did you choose Carnegie Science for your internship?

My dad works at Carnegie. Also, I talked with Meredith about the project at the Christmas Party, and it sounded really cool and fun.

2. How has the experience been for you?  What did you do, and what have you learned?

This has been an awesome summer. The project is really cool, and I'm finally learning how to program. I've been analyzing data of Promixa Centauri from Hubble and TESS looking for stellar flares in multiwavelengths, I've learned alot about Stellar Flares, and just how much we don't know about them, which is quite a bit.

3. Has this internship influenced what you would like to study or do in the future?

This has definitely made me more interested in Astrophysics. I think stars are really really awesome, and we currently don't know enough about them. 

I'm entering my last year of High School. I'll be taking Quantum Mechanics and Astrophysics, which I'm excited about. After that, who knows.