Alumnae News

Melissa Nysewander '98 received her PhD in Physics from UNC Chapel Hill in December 2006. She works in the environmental science division at Alion Science and Technology, a government contracting firm. She works closely with EPA scientists from their offices in Research Triangle Park, NC, to develop and perform complex Monto Carlo simulations that model human exposure to air pollution and pesticides. These models simulate humans moving through a number of environments and are based upon known pollutant concentrations and human behavior patterns. The research is fundamental in nature, but the results can influence public policy that addresses harmful exposure to chemicals.

Jessica Moy '99 runs the library at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, AZ. The Library provides research support for astronomers in Tucson and on the mountain [Kitt Peak] that houses NOAO's optical telescope, and the SARA consortium SARA-North 0.9-m telescope.

Nadia Afrin '01 is a Partnership and Content Specialist with the Development Gateway Foundation, which provides Web-based platforms to make aid and development efforts more effective around the world. She earned a master's degree in science and technology policy from the George Washington University, with concentrations in international development and space policy.

Ashley Zauderer '02 is a graduate student at the University of Maryland, pursuing her PhD in Astrophysics. She will be in S. Korea this summer and entering into the final stages of her doctoral studies in astronomy in the coming year. For her thesis, she is taking several different approaches to studying luminous infrared galaxies, with the hope of learning more about the physical processes (Active Galactic Nuclei and starbursts) that lead to the extraordinary energy output of this particular class of objects, and how they fit into the larger picture of galactic evolution.

Allison Mercer '03 just received her M.S. in Physics from the University of Iowa, and is currently working on a multi-wavelength astronomy project studying features surrounding volcano-like erupting stars. She has been awarded the position of Research Scientist I with the the LIDAR group in the Electro-Optics Systems Laboratory (EOSL) at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Her research will involve the development of electro-optical instruments, and assistance with modeling and simulations.

Charlee Callender Bennett '03 has completed a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. She is currently a Research Intern and PhD Candidate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Oak Ridge, she is continuing thesis research in epitaxial thin film deposition via laser ablation, investigating magnetic and electric properties via XRD, SQUID, and ferroelectric technique.

Kristin Youngquist '04 works as the Economic Development analyst at the Georgia Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. She is in her last semester of her master of public administration program at GSU. Also the Habitat for Humanity-DeKalb affiliate is going to bring her on as a board member in November.

Martha Dawsey '04 is starting her 3rd year of graduate school at the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences. She is a recipient of the Graduate Student Researcher's Program Fellowship from NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), which is currently funding her research with Dr. John Reagan in the area of lidar development. On a recent visit to LaRC, she was able to see the work that is being done on their High Spectral Resolution Lidar, and is excited about working with them in the future.

Julia (Jewels) DeBlasio '05 is starting the third year of her PhD program in Engineering Psychology at Georgia Tech and will have her masters by the end of this academic year! Currently, she is working on a project for Toyota designing displays for an in-vehicle blind spot detection system. She hopes to one day work in the field of aerospace human factors. In the meantime, she is enjoying graduate school and is happily a new home owner.

Hannah Marine '07 is pursuing her PhD in Astronomy at Georgia State. She writes "Since graduating I have done quite a bit of moving around. I spent a few months in Rome, Ga bartending at a Barnsley Gardens. I moved to Lawrenceville, Ga where I worked at California Dreaming. I then moved to Galveston, Tx where I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school. I applied to the astronomy and physics program at Georgia State University and was accepted as one of the four students for the 2008-2009 year. I am currently living in Decatur, Ga, attending graduate school full time, and working as a teaching assistant, which entails teaching three astronomy labs a week."

Sarah Scoles '07 is pursuing her MFA in Fiction at Cornell University. She is working on a collection of short stories involving astrophysical themes, characters, and metaphors. Two of her stories have been published by the literary magazines Diagram and Starry Night Review. She also participates in Cornell's "Ask An Astronomer" outreach program, which personally answers people's questions about astronomical topics.

Laura Handzel '08 will be teaching English in Japan as part of the JET program. This program recruits men and women from across the globe to improve the speaking and writing skills of Japanese students in English. Laura will be living and teaching on Ikina Island located in the Inland Sea to the northwest of Shikoku Ialsnd.

Crystal Keddie-Hill '08 continues work on neutral hydrogen (HI) data from the Very Large Array and the GMRT, a continuation of her summer work with Eric Wilcots (U. Wisconsin). She is taking classes at ASC this year in preparation for graduate school.