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Shepherd University's NASA Day recognizes students

ISSUED: 25 April 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd University's NASA Day recognizes students)

Shepherdstown, WV--Seven Shepherd University students who were recipients of the West Virginia Space Grant Undergraduate Fellowship Program presented their research as part of the 2011 NASA Day. Students who received scholarships from the program were also recognized.

The seven fellowship recipients include Robert Auld, senior computer science and mathematics major from Gerrardstown; Joanna Baird, senior biology major from Charles Town; Etleva Jackson, senior computer science, networking and security major from Martinsburg; Brittani Love, junior chemistry major from Martinsburg; Phillip Sinsky, senior chemistry major from Frederick, Maryland; Richard Stephens, senior network security major from Martinsburg; and Joshua Sullivan, senior computer and information science major from Middletown, Maryland.

Fellowships are made possible by the NASA West Virginia Space Grand Consortium and Shepherd's School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The grants, which range from $500-2,300, are matched by the Dr. Suzanne Shipley and the Office of the President.

According to Reza Mirdamadi, associate professor of engineering and chair of the department of computer science, mathematics, and engineering, 30 students applied for the award. Each year, 10-15 students are accepted into the program. Mirdamadi also serves as a board member on the NASA West Virginia Space Grand Consortium.

Students made their proposals in October 2010 to a committee of faculty members, including Dr. Mengyang Li, assistant professor of chemistry; Dr. Ruth Conley, associate professor of biology; Dr. Christopher Elmer, assistant professor, mathematics and engineering; Dr. Seung-yun Kim, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, and Dr. Osman Guzide, associate professor of computer sciences. Awards were given in November and students began their research immediately. Research topics included cryptography, error detection using petri nets, and examining the dependence of langmuir monolayer lateral compression modulus.

Mirdamadi said that as part of the stipulations of the award, the students must do meaningful research and present a paper and have the paper published.

"NASA Day is designed to acknowledge and recognize our students who have shown their commitments in enhancing their educational experience at a unique and exceptional level. The NASA scholars have shown that dedication through their academic records and conducting research with faculty," said Mirdamadi.

Scholarships were given to Brett Shaffer, senior biochemistry major from Richmond, Virginia; Michael Skaggs, sophomore computer engineering major from Arnoldsburg; April Tressler, sophomore mathematics major from Thurmont, Maryland; Jeffrey Carter, junior computer engineering major from Shepherdstown; Nicholas Drozda, senior computer engineering major from Martinsburg; Matt Griffith, junior computer engineering major from Boonsboro, Maryland; Michael Smith, junior computer engineering major from Kearneysville; Matt Tark, sophomore computer engineering major from Hagerstown, Maryland; Steave Sanderson, freshman computer engineering major from Shepherdstown; and John Kessler, junior computer science and mathematics major from Kearneysville.

Students who participated and presented their work at West Virginia Academy of Sciences and the Shepherd University Robotics Team, which recently traveled to the Trinity College International Fire Fighting Robot Contest and took third place, were also recognized.


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Pictured above are the recipients of the NASA fellowship awards: (l. to r., front row) Brittani Love, Joanna Baird, and Etleva Jackson; and second row Richard Stephens, Phillip Sinsky, Robert Auld, and Joshua Sullivan.

Pictured above are the recipients of the NASA scholarship awards: (l. to r., front row) Jeff Carter, Matthew Tark, Seave Sanderson, and April Tressler; and (second row) Michael Smith, Michael Skaggs, Matthew Griffith, Nicholas Drozda, and Tyler Kessler.

Pictured above are the winners of the Shepherd Open Mathematics competition: (l. to r.) Yawar Raza, of North High School in Hagerstown, Maryland, and Bekezhan Nurkhaidarov, of Hedgesville.

Pictured above are the participants in the Trinity College International Fire Fighting Robot Contest: (l. to r., front row) April Tressler, Nicholas Drozda, Matthew Tark, and Joshua Sullivan; and (second row) Tyler Kessler, Jeff Carter, Matthew Alt, Matthew Griffith, Seave Sanderson, and Michael Skaggs.

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