Annual Donors Travel Award
These awards are intended for career advancement, usually associated with travel, for LPL students and staff. They are supported by gifts, typically of $500 or $1000, from donors. Videos from the recipients appear on this page.
Financial support from the LPL External Advisory Board permitted graduate student to spend 3 months at the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azure in Nice, France, where he investigated a new method, based on neural networks, for identifying the oldest collisional families of asteroids that formed in the earliest phases of our solar system and that have so far not been identified using classical methods.
Funding from the LPL External Board of Advisors provided first-year student Claire Cook with the opportunity to attend training for COMSOL geophysical modeling software that she will use for her graduate research. The training session was held in Redwood City, California, November 12 and 13. COMSOL is multipurpose but so complex that it requires in-person training; and, given that other students and faculty are interested in using the software for their own research groups, Claire's training experience will benefit others as well.
First-year graduate student Kiana McFadden used travel funds from the LPL External Board to travel to Houston this October (2019) to attend the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) meeting, where she received an award for best student oral presentation of her paper titled, “Sedimentology, Petrography, and Mineralogy of the Tallahatta Formation near the City of Meridian, Mississippi.” The presentation was based on work done as an undergraduate at Jackson State University.
Fourth-year student Kyle Pearson attended the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Honolulu, HI, where he presented his research article describing his discovery of three new multi-planet systems using TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). Kyle developed a new automated technique that employs machine learning to identify exoplanet candidates. Kyle plans to graduate in the spring 2019 semester.
Funds from the LPL External Board Annual Donors Travel Award supported Benjamin Sharkey's trip to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 2019 joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting (Sept. 15-19), which hosted 1730 participants from 52 countries. Ben had the opportunity to present his work on asteroids orbiting near Jupiter.
The Annual Donors Travel Award, supported by the LPL External Board of Advisors, allowed Maria Steinrueck to present her work on the mixing of photochemical hazes by the large-scale circulation in the atmospheres of hot Jupiter exoplanets at Extreme Solar Systems IV in Reykjavik, Iceland, August 18-23, 2019. With over 600 participants, this was the largest exoplanet conference ever held. Maria reports that she was able to participate in in-depth conversations with other scientists about their exoplanet research, resulting in a collaboration on a Hubble Space Telescope proposal. Maria received useful feedback on her work; had networking opportunities; and learned of new discoveries and methods in exoplanet research. Maria was also able to explore Iceland's volcanic and glacial geology.
LPL graduate student Shane Stone was able to attend the 2019 American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Geneva, Switzerland (Sept. 15-19) thanks to funds from the Annual Donors Travel Award, supported by the LPL External Board of Advisors. Shane presented his work on the delivery of water to the upper atmosphere of Mars. He reports that the networking opportunities were particularly valuable, given that he is expecting to graduate in May 2020.