Meet this summer’s Boulder Solar Alliance REU Cohort!


Meet this summer’s Boulder Solar Alliance REU Cohort!

The Boulder Solar Alliance Research Experience for Undergraduates (BSA REU) program is excited to welcome its summer cohort to Boulder! The program, which began in 2007 and is funded by the National Science Foundation, offers students from a wide variety of backgrounds the opportunity to participate in scientific research guided by professional mentors, involving them in meaningful ways in ongoing research and providing them with valuable job skills. The BSA REU is managed by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder and involves eight solar-science institutes in the region. 

This summer, the program is being held fully in-person in Boulder for the first time since 2019. This year’s students are not only highly skilled, curious, and persistent with regard to their research, but also possess some unique interests and passions.

Ethan Balderrama (he/him): Ethan is going into his senior year in meteorology and atmospheric science at the Pennsylvania State University (State College, PA). He’s working with Mark Miesch at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) this summer. He loves everything that can be done outdoors including biking, fishing, and just being in nature. He’s a football fan, loves all music from country to metal, and plays a bit of guitar. He’s recently been able to participate in some storm chasing at his home university, which he hopes to do more of in the future!

Amelia Bettati (she/her): Amelia is an astrophysics student at Elon University (Elon, NC) with a minor in computer science. She is working with her mentor Amir Caspi at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder. Amelia is interested in the idea of multiplanetary expansion and human civilization moving to other planets. She loves creative writing, painting, singing, and also plays multiple instruments. 

Andrea Borlovan (she/her): Andrea is double majoring in physics and applied mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s High Altitude Observatory (HAO) this summer with Scott Sewell. She is enjoying rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking in the Boulder area, where she also owns a Menchies Frozen Yogurt franchise. 

Tyler Case (he/him): Tyler is an astrophysics major at Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA) and is working at NSO this summer with Serena Criscuoli. Tyler was born in Maryland, but moved to Sweden and lived there until college. When he came to Lycoming College, he played basketball his freshman year but ultimately chose to focus on his studies. Tyler loves photography and opportunities to be creative, of which he has been finding many since he came to Boulder.

Nick Cebula (he/him): Nick attends Macalester College (Saint Paul, MN) and will earn his bachelor’s degree in physics with an emphasis in astronomy next spring. He is working at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) with Sushanta Tripathy. Some of his favorite things in Boulder so far include going to Pearl Street, exploring CU’s campus, and being in the mountains. Additionally, he enjoys cooking, camping, and playing board games in his free time.

Grace Fassio (she/her): Grace is a rising senior at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) working on a physics/astronomy combined major, history minor, and is potentially looking to add a math minor. She is excited to be working with Kevin McGouldrick at LASP this summer and has become a regular at the local Boulder County Farmers Market. Grace is a vegetarian, loves to cook, and has a quarter collection which was just completed after she found an Arkansas state coin while doing laundry.

Julia Hand (she/her): Julia, a chemistry major at Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ), is originally from Fort Collins, CO. She is working with Hadi Madanian at LASP and is excited to be applying her knowledge of chemistry to the field of space physics. Some of her favorite hobbies are hiking and running, and she is getting into mountain biking. She also enjoys singing, playing a few instruments, and songwriting. 

Lexy Hensley (she/her): Lexy is from Eastern Kentucky and attends Berea College (Berea, KY). She is a physics major with a geology and math double minor. She is very involved on campus as a teaching assistant for introductory courses in both physics and astronomy, as the president of the local chapter of the Society of Physics Students, and as the planetarium associate at the Berea College Planetarium. She is currently working at LASP with Harriet George and is enjoying hiking while living in Boulder.

Maheen Khan (she/her): Maheen is working on her associate degree in engineering at Pikes Peak State College (Colorado Springs, CO) and is a candidate for the U.S. Air Force Academy. She is working with Larizsa Krista at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CIRES), a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and CU Boulder. Maheen enjoys hiking, biking, and being outdoors (especially in Boulder). Her biggest inspiration is her mother, who inspired her to pursue science, and she hopes to take the professional development and space physics skills gained from the REU program into her future career!

Ysabella Lopez (she/her): Ysa is a physics and English double major in the class of 2025 at Spelman College (Atlanta, GA). She is working at SwRI with Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo. Ysa loves the people of Boulder and the unique shops and hidden gems in the city, and has been happy to be so close to the mountains. She makes short films, likes skating, plays instruments, and has a passion for art and creation.

Emma Opper (she/her): Emma is a math major at the University of California Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) with a professional writing minor in science communication. She is working at NOAA with Manoj Nair and Rob Redmon. Emma loves gymnastics, climbing, hiking, and spikeball, the latter three of which she picked up while in Santa Barbara. She comes from a family of movie makers and has loved watching movies since she was young. Emma also enjoys indie music and going to concerts of bands she’s never heard of. 

Jordan Richardson (she/her): Jordan is an aerospace engineering and sciences major at CU Boulder (Boulder, CO) going into her senior year. She is working at LASP with Aimee Merkel. In her free time, Jordan loves painting, boxing, and cooking. She also volunteers as a transcriber for the Smithsonian Institution and previously volunteered at the Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center in Colorado Springs. There, she worked on the Mars Rover Station and received her certification in the Mars Robotics Laboratory in 2019. Jordan recently got her own telescope and is excited to use it this summer. 

Pepper Rivera (she/they): Pepper is a rising senior at Arkansas Tech University (Russellville, AR) double majoring in physics and mathematics and minoring in religious studies. She is working with Joshua Elliott at LASP and, like many others, is loving Boulder. Some of her favorite things so far include nature and the environmentally conscious attitude of the city as well as the incredible food. 

Jeff Robinson (he/him): Jeff attends the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University and is finishing his bachelor’s degree in physics in the fall. He is working with Karin Dissauer this summer at Northwest Research Associates (NWRA) and is interested in stellar formation and galaxy evolution. He likes playing video games, watching anime, and listening to music. Jeff loves creative writing and is currently working on a novel. He has been enjoying hiking and biking in Boulder and he hopes to see snow before the end of the program.

Martina Salichs (she/her): Martina is going into her third year at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, where she is majoring in theoretical physics. She is working with Robin Ramstad at LASP this summer. She loves collecting rocks and crystals and weight training. Martina had never been hiking before coming to Boulder and is enjoying the new environment and its opportunities!

Rose Sosa (she/her): Rose will graduate in 2025 from Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA), where she is working on the physics/astronomy combined major with a minor in math. This summer, she’s working with Ryan French at NSO. She’s enjoying being so close to nature during her stay in Boulder and is passionate about hiking, backpacking, and kayaking. When she’s not out in the mountains or on a river, she loves crocheting and exercising.

Recent News: