Summers can be spent taking a break from school.
Or, alternatively, learning new things and gaining professional experience.
Missouri State University students in various disciplines of the physics, astronomy and materials science (PAMS) department had memorable summers through sponsored internships.
“I’m very happy our students had opportunities to learn and work in some of the finest research centers in the country,” said Dr. Robert Mayanovic, professor and PAMS department head.
“I studied light-matter interactions for a subfield of material science known as optoelectronics,” Shortt said. “I assembled a unique piece of equipment that used a technique known as three-pulse four-wave mixing. It gives us an idea of how light interacts with the electrons of a material.”
He cherished his experience for both the connections and knowledge he gained.
“I met so many people who knew pools of knowledge I hadn’t encountered,” Shortt said. “I had the privilege to work with them on projects I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”
Even while pursuing a physics major, mathematics, chemistry and biomedical science minors and certificates in computational science and biomedical physics, Riley Hochstein still searched for knowledge and opportunities.
He interned for the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I was responsible for developing a device for magnetoencephalography, which measures magnetic signals arising from the heart,” he said.
While using 56 extremely sensitive lasers, Hochstein and his team created computer models to investigate these signals. He oversaw taking measurements, writing computer code and interpreting results.
“The end goal is to create new technology that could better predict cardiac disease,” Hochstein said. “This same technology used to be extremely cost-intensive, but now with the use of lasers, we can lower costs. I was in charge of starting this project for development.”
The experience was one to remember.
“I loved my summer in Washington, D.C. I was living a couple blocks from the White House and got to learn so much, not only in terms of my research, but in terms of culture, history and politics,” Hochstein said. “My team was fantastic and I was enriched with so much knowledge. The D.C. area is drastically different from Springfield and I loved every second of this new opportunity.”
Her internship was with the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based ScienceS and Education (CLASSE). Their particle accelerator research program is in Ithaca, New York.
From coding to GIFs, her responsibilities spanned both. She wrote a code that detects and categorizes quenches (or loss of superconductivity) in super conducting radio frequency cavities.
“These cavities are what accelerate the particles in a particle accelerator, and CLASSE monitors their performance using a grid of temperature sensors on the outside of the cavity,” Rapp said. I could then take this data and map it to create GIFs of thermal events in these cavities.
“I’m definitely not exaggerating when I say this summer was the best summer of my life,” Rapp said. “I loved N.Y., I loved the research and I loved all the people I met.”