Department of Physics & Engineering

Research & Internships

 

The Fort Lewis Physics & Engineering Department participates in the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, sponsored by NASA. Through this grant program, our students frequently acquire paid internships for summer research in a variety of physics, astronomy, and engineering capacities. We have connections for recurring internships with the NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) facility in Pasadena, Calif., and with Textron Corp. (a high-tech aerospace and defense business) near Boston, Mass, as well as other internship opportunities with the Space Grant headquarters at the University of Colorado in Boulder. We also offer frequent internships working at our observatory facility during the summer nights, and others building instrumentation payloads and robotic systems for sensor experiments on high altitude balloon-borne experiments at the edge of our atmosphere. FLC physics and engineering students are also encouraged to compete for the Elaine Hansen summer internship program with NASA, and to participate in NASA small-payload rocketry workshops.
 
Research carried out in connection with the Colorado Space Grant at FLC often serves well as a senior seminar (physics) or senior design (engineering) project, for course credit. The following are some examples of recent senior projects completed by senior students in collaboration with our NASA space grant:
  • “Observations of the Binary Star Algol” by student Shane Mayer-Gawlik.
  • “Type Ia Supernovae: Standard Candles Used to Calculate Galactic Distances” by student Joanna Gordon.
  • “Measuring Cosmic Rays” by student Alden Cooper.
  • “Quantitative Analysis of RR Lyrae Variable Stars in M4 as Observational Photometry” by Katherine Darland.
  • “Black Hole Accretion Systems, Timescales, and Mass Determination” by student Diego Santos-Noble.
  • “Supermassive Black Hole Mergers” by student Brent Janus.
Current research and ongoing research interests:
  • Environmental Protection Agency P3 Grant – Sustainable Anaerobic Digester/Cook Stove Design to Promote Health, Environment, and Economic Prosperity in the Developing World.  2008-09
  • FLC observatory astrophysics and observational astronomy
  • EWB/sustainable technologies for water and energy systems, atmospheric sprites & summer storm chasing with a wide range of faculty research interests and a willingness to help students pursue other research areas of their choosing.
Notable publications:
  • Duncan & Tyler, “Your Cosmic Context: an Introduction to Modern Cosmology,” Addison-Wesley 2009. 
  • Williams, L., “Determination of Hansen Solubility Parameter Values for Carbon Dioxide”, Hansen Solubility Parameters: A User’s Handbook, CRC Press 2007.
Recent and current grant support:
  • Colorado Space Grant Consortium (from NASA)
  • EPA grant
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Radiant Heat Windows Test Program
  • NSF supported research on atmospheric phenomena of sprites
Outreach, Community Service and Internship Opportunities: 
 
We have a very active Chapter of Engineers Without Borders with recent and ongoing projects in Thailand, Laos, Ecuador.
 
We often offer student internships with multiple engineering and other technical firms.  In the past this has included internships with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NASA, IBM, Lockheed, Raytheon, and others.  We currently have offers for internships with a number of national and local companies.
 
Questions about research and internships?
 
Please contact Department Chair Dr. Ryan Haaland.
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