POCA

A Partnership in Observational and Computational Astronomy

Year 1 Project Investigators

Donald Walter

As PI, Walter has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the project including oversight of the work by Co-PIs and others involved in the project. He worked with the SCSU Office of Sponsored Programs and the Grants and Contracts office to ensure that the financial account was setup and properly maintained. He was responsible for ensuring that the Clemson subaward was issued. He completed all SCSU internal reporting and accounting requirements. He, with the help of the part-time administrative assistance, executed all procurement and related financial transactions. Walter was the main point of contact and responsible for communication among the partner institutions, Co-PIs, collaboratorsand students.Walter conducted faculty research on RV Tauri stars. He visited Kitt Peak National Observatory twice to conduct repair work on the 1.3 meter telescope. Walter made presentations on the PAARE project at several national and regional meetings including the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the National Society of Black Physicists. Additional dissemination duties included issuing press releases, giving talks in the local community and writing an article for the 'Spectrum', a newsletter published by Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy within the AAS.Walter served as mentor to an undergraduate student whose work was presented at the annual conference of the National Society of Black Physicists.

Steven Howell

Dr. Howell is the Co-PI on this project from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). He has served as the mentor to the SCSU faculty and students for research and a point of contact for access to KPNO facilities. Howell has worked with PI Walter and Co-PI Cash to develop short and long term plans to conduct collaborative research with him on RV Tauri stars. He has prepared for a SCSU intern to come to KPNO for the summer of 2009. That student's research project is being coordinated by Howell to complement the work by interns who will stay behind at SCSU. Howell has advised Walter and Cash on preparation for future observing proposals on the use of the KPNO Coude Feed telescope and the NASA Kepler Mission.

Mark Leising

Dr. Leising is the Co-PI on this project from Clemson University (CU). He handles financial and administrative matters related to the subaward. He coordinates faculty and student participation at and with CU, including SCSU access to CU observing facilities at KPNO and elsewhere.Leising has traveled to SCSU to meet faculty and students and talk about his research. He coordinated an overnight visit by three SCSU students and two professors in July 2008 to discuss their summer's work, hear about research opportunities from graduate students and faculty, get to know Clemson, and hear more directly from students what graduate school is like. Research activities of everyone involved at both institutions was presented.Leising has prepared a research project for an SCSU who will be in residence at CU during the summer of 2009. Additionally, he served as the point of contact between Co-PI Cash at SCSU and researchers at CU who included Cash and SCSU in their preproposal to NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE).

Daniel Smith

Dr. Smith has concentrated largely on two areas related to the project, recruitment and development of curriculum materials. He has personally contacted prospective freshmen to recruit them into the SCSU physics program in general and the astronomy option in particular. He has developed recruitment materials for dissemination at conferences and to schools.Smith has developed two new laboratory exercises and tested them on classes and summer students. These include an astronomy lab for a sophomore level physics course and an astronomy lab for a non-majors physical science course.Smith has also spent time lecturing to the summer PAARE students. His background in extragalactic astronomy and cosmology is a important addition to the project.

Jennifer Cash

Jennifer Cash has conducted faculty-level research on RV Tauri stars. She has supported dissemination of the project results by giving a talk at the University of Wyoming. She was coauthor on a poster describing the project given at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).Cash has served as the lead faculty mentor at SCSU. This includes organizing student skill-building sessions and talks by visiting astronomers. She has been the mentor for two students during the first year. Their work was presented as a student poster at the January 2009 AAS meeting.

Elizabeth Mayo

Dr. Mayo is the Planetarium Manager, an Assistant Professor of Physics and a Radio Astronomer at SCSU. She has contributed to this project in a number of ways during the first year. Mayo completed her Ph.D. in radio astronomy at the beginning of Year 1 of the project. She, along with her faculty adviser at the University of Kentucky, is preparing two papers for submission. At the January 2009 meeting of the AAS she was the sole speaker at a talk and the lead on a poster as well as coauthor on another poster.Mayo has conducted outreach activities such as planetarium shows and talks during which she discusses the PAARE project and recruits prospective K-12 students to attend SCSU and major in physics. Mayo has demonstrated use of radio telescopes and lectured to the SCSU PAARE undergraduates participating in summer research. Additionally, she has worked with the PI on restoring the roof-top radio telescope to use for research and display purposes.

Jeremy King

Dr. King was responsible for coordinating a research visit by an SCSU undergraduate to Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) to observe on the 4-meter telescope with a senior graduate student from Clemson. This trip to KPNO was instrumental in inspiring the SCSU physics major to select the astronomy option as their major. This undergraduate has subsequently been selected to conduct research at Clemson University in the summer of 2009.Dr. King also submitted a NSF Astronomy and Research Grant (AAG) that would involve Walter and the use of SCSU's observing time on the 1.3 meter telescope at KPNO.

Kenneth Mighell

Dr. Mighell has collaborated on this PAARE project in his role as the NSF REU Site Director at KPNO. He has coordinated the preparations for the summer 2009 internship at KPNO by an SCSU student. He met with that student and motivated him accept the position. Mighell has designed the SCSU PAARE internship to include full participation in the KPNO REU program. He has advised the SCSU PI on a computer purchase for the SCSU student so his machine be fully compatible with the other REU student machines.

Dieter Hartmann

Dr. Hartmann is preparing for SCSU's participation in future optical follow-ups to Gamma Ray Bursts. This will include using a portion of SCSU's guaranteed observing time on the KPNO 1.3-meter telescope known as the Robotically Controlled Telescope (RCT). Participation by SCSU awaits final repair work on the RCT.