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MC Engineering and Physics Students Win Science Observation Award at National Competition

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Category: EDU - General (Inside MC staff use only)

Published: May 30 2012 4:48PM

The Montgomery College Solar Spectrograph Team (Michael Satinu, John Silk, Yoseph Feseha and Lampouguin Yenkoidiok Douti) won the Science Observations award in the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition.

The Montana Space Grant Consortium hosted the competition, May 16-19, in Bozeman, Montana, at the campus of Montana State University.

The team members at Montgomery College began designing their ground-based solar spectrograph and developing a scientific goal to demonstrate the capabilities of the spectrograph in September of 2011.

As part of the project requirements, the team provided educational outreach in the local community during Rockville Science day at Montgomery College on 15 April 2012.

The Montana Space Grant Consortium awarded the team $2000 for materials to build the spectrograph. The Montgomery College Foundation generously provided funding to cover the costs of student travel. Professors Dr. Carrie Fitzgerald and Dr. Ryan Fitzgerald are serving as faculty advisors for the students.

There were four awards given: spectrograph design, spectrograph build, science observations, and presentation of results. This was a national competition and the MC students were not only competing against four year universities, but students who used this competition as part of their senior research projects.

The judges were impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of the MC team members, and in particular the rigor displayed in relating the spectrograph design to a scientific mission.

Over the course of three days the student team worked together and problem solved as they collected data on site and presented their results.

The students will each be awarded a $3,000 scholarship and travel to the NASA IRIS launch (scheduled for December 2012).

The team is grateful to the amazing support of the MC Physics and Engineering Department, especially Bill Schuster and Kim Kelly. Thanks also to the faculty who listened to the student talks and provided valuable input before the competition. This was a huge help to the students.

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