The University of Colorado Boulder established the Charles A. Barth scholarship for undergraduate space research in 2013 to honor his lasting legacy of teaching and mentoring of the next generation of space researchers. Several undergraduate students with focused studies in space research are supported by this scholarship each year.
Dr. Charles A. Barth served as the director of the university’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics from 1965 to 1992, and under his guidance, LASP sent science instruments to every planet in the solar system. In addition to having a long and productive research career, Barth left a lasting legacy through his teaching and mentoring, through which he generously sharing his knowledge and passion for exploration with hundreds of CU students. Barth was committed to hands-on education and training that included students in every step of a research project or NASA mission development, a novel approach that continues at LASP to this day.
This year, in honor of LASP’s 75th anniversary the in institute is awarding scholarships to five outstanding CU Boulder undergraduate students.
Lauren Christenson, Class of 2025, major in aerospace engineering sciences with a minor in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, is working with LASP researcher Naomi Maruyama on investigating space weather impacts on the Earth’s upper atmosphere caused by solar storms through model simulation data of plasma and neutral atoms. ”Working at LASP as an undergraduate has been incredibly rewarding. I am excited to continue learning from the best in the industry and have loved supplementing my studies with real world experience. Thank you for believing in me,” said Christenson.
Thomas Corbett, Class of 2025, major in physics, is working with LASP professional research associate John Fontanese and LASP research associate and CU Boulder professor Mihaly Horanyi. They are working in the Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres, and Cosmic Dust (IMPACT) laboratory, testing and calibrating spaceflight instruments such as Europa SUrface Dust Analyzer (SUDA) which will be aboard NASA’s Europa Clipper mission and the Interstellar Dust Experiment (IDEX) which will be aboard NASA’s IMAP mission. “I am very grateful to be surrounded by incredible people working on incredible science. My mentors and peers in the IMPACT lab have helped me grow as a student, a scientist, and a person,” said Corbett.
Caroline Emery, Class of 2024, major in physics, is working with LASP research associate Michael Chaffin on Mars atmosphere escape processes including water loss by investigating the emission characteristics of the Lyman alpha hydrogen line. “I have grown so much as a scientist during my time here at LASP. I am so thankful to have such an incredible mentor and to be surrounded by colleagues who support me in my academic journey,” said Emery.
Troy Hesse, Class of 2024, double major in physics and astrophysics, is working with LASP research associate Laila Andersson. They are using data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission to study the possible drivers of composition change in the uppermost atmosphere of the Red Planet. “Working in a welcoming and cultivating environment with such an impressive team of scientists, including some of the foremost researchers in their fields, has given me a fantastic introduction to the realm of scientific inquiry and research,” said Hesse.
Samantha Honan, Class of 2024, double major in aerospace engineering and astrophysics, is working with LASP research associate and CU Boulder professor Mark Rast. They are exploring the origin of sound waves that are typically used to study the interior structure and dynamics of the Sun. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to do research in space sciences; being able to work with amazing faculty in a field I’m passionate about has helped me grow as both a scientist and an engineer,” said Honan.
Written by: Aimee Merkel – LASP Science Communications Specialist and Chair of the Charles A. Barth scholarship committee