UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity E-news
Spring 2010  |  Return to issue home

Astro-Dawgs Team Up with Washington MESA

Astro-Dawgs Microgravity Research team
Astro-Dawgs Microgravity Research Team

The Astro-Dawgs Microgravity Research team, composed of nine UW students, will work with Washington Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) this spring as volunteers to help engage K-12 students in engineering and science education, as well as spread awareness of NASA educational opportunities.

The Astro-Dawgs were recently accepted to participate in The Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program—also known as Microgravity University—put on by the NASA Johnson Space Center. The team’s research proposal for an experiment to be conducted in low-gravity conditions was one of 14 nationwide entries accepted to participate in the 2010 program. The Astro-Dawgs have six months to design and construct their experiment and will then get the opportunity to test the experiment on a NASA airplane that can simulate low gravity.

As a part of the program, the team will conduct academic outreach within the community, for which it will work with Washington MESA, an organization that joined the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity this past year. Formally started in 1982, Washington state MESA provides enriching opportunities in mathematics, engineering and science for K-12 underrepresented and minority students. The Astro-Dawgs will help put on MESA Days in Tacoma, Seattle and Vancouver— all-day events for middle and high school students where they compete in a series of academic competitions such as team bridge building exercises and math challenges.

The Astro-Dawgs Microgravity Research team includes team leader Ashley Clark, Alex LaComb and Matthew Walker from the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department; Stephen Choi, James Coe, Jeff Rider and Kyle Wetzlar from the Mechanical Engineering Department; Jon Fowler from Physics and Astronomy; and Amanda Rutherford from Economics. Dr. James Riley (Mechanical Engineering) is the faculty adviser.

Read more about The Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program

Photo courtesy Matthew Walker

Spring 2010  |  Return to issue home

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