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Jamie Molaro Wins College of Science Outstanding Service Award

LPL’s Jamie Molaro won the award for Outstanding Service and Outreach at the  8th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards.

Graduate Student News

Jamie Molaro Wins College of Science Outstanding Service Award

LPL’s Jamie Molaro won the award for Outstanding Service and Outreach at the  8th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards. The award, sponsored by the UA College of Science and the Associate Graduate Council, recognizes attention to broader impacts and involvement in activities outside of academic responsibilities that benefit the department, university and the larger community (e.g., representing graduate student interests on councils or committees, organizing graduate student events, assisting departmental recruitment, participating in K-12 outreach, etc.). Jamie more than met these criteria through her efforts in developing and organizing The Art of Planetary Science (TAPS) in 2013 and for leading the exhibit in its second, even more successful incarnation in 2014.

TAPS has become a community event, thanks to Jamie's efforts at networking and building partnerships with local artists, museums, and with local business. For 2014, Jamie crafted a significant new partnership with the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA), dramatically increased the participation of the IAAA in this year’s art show, and also collaborated extensively with the local Tucson chapter of the IAAA in ensuring cross-advertisement between TAPS and the IAAA’s own local art show. Jamie also pursued new partnerships with the College of Science, which culminated in a private, catered showing for the Galileo Circle the night prior to the grand opening. Jamie strengthened existing partnerships that she had developed in 2013, most notably with the Tucson Museum of Art’s “Art on Tap” — an art and craft beer festival. Through collaboration with Tucson Museum of Art, Jamie was able to have the winners of TAPS and several selected works displayed while providing free access to the show for artists. Lastly, Jamie also coordinated advertisement for the art show, including talking with reporters for the Arizona Daily Star, UA News (video: http://tinyurl.com/artofplanetaryscience), The Daily Wildcat, and NPR. Jamie has also presented The Art of Planetary Science to the scientific community, with posters and talks at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) and American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Science (DPS) conference. These presentations serve to inform fellow scientists and science educators on how we created and executed such a successful art show—with the aim of inspiring similar programs at other institutions and attracting scientists to submit artwork for future shows. As this weren't enough, Jamie also coordinated with the organizers of the October 2014 DPS meeting (held in Tucson) to allow a miniature showing of the artwork at the conference.

Thanks to Jamie Molaro, the 2014 Art of Planetary Science was a resounding success, with more than 200 pieces of artwork from 90 artists and scientists. The show spanned three floors of the Kuiper Space Sciences building, which was transformed into an art gallery. Over the three nights of the art show (plus the special Galileo Circle event), TAPS drew a crowd of over 800 people—over double what we saw in the first show in 2013. The artists sold several dozen pieces of artwork, making over $2,000 for the local Tucson art community, along with several hundred dollars in donation to the College of Science and to LPL.

Jamie's award was announced at a reception held on April 7. This is the fourth consecutive year that an LPL graduate student has won one of the three college-wide awards. Given that our graduate students are competing against the best students from 11 other departments, having a winner four years in a row speaks to the excellence of our graduate students.

Congratulations, Jamie!

Get to Know a Post-doc: Xi Zhang

Xi Zhang joined LPL in January 2013, working as a Bisgrove post-doctoral scholar on planetary atmospheres with Dr. Adam Showman. His research focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of the planetary climate system from observational, theoretical and modeling work.

Department News

Get to Know a Post-doc: Xi Zhang

Xi Zhang joined LPL in January 2013, working as a Bisgrove post-doctoral scholar on planetary atmospheres with Dr. Adam Showman. His research focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of the planetary climate system from observational, theoretical and modeling work. He has been involved in several projects on Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Neptune, extra-solar planets, brown dwarfs, as well as Earth. Xi’s work covers topics on atmospheric science, including fluid dynamics, spectroscopy, chemistry, cloud microphysics, and radiative transfer.

Xi is from Sichuan, China. He studied at Peking University, where he earned a B.S. in Space Physics (2007). Xi earned his Ph.D. in 2012 from California Institute of Technology with a thesis on aerosol and chemistry on planetary atmospheres in the solar system. Xi enjoys reading, swimming, and outdoor activities.

Meet LPL Staff: Ed Audi and Annie Wargetz

Ed Audi is a Staff Engineer with the Cassini VIMS team. His career at LPL began in 2013, but his journey to Tucson started in 1997, when he decided to leave the cold weather of his native Vermont and head west.

Department News

Meet LPL Staff: Ed Audi and Annie Wargetz

Ed Audi is a Staff Engineer with the Cassini VIMS team. His career at LPL began in 2013, but his journey to Tucson started in 1997, when he decided to leave the cold weather of his native Vermont and head west. After working in the telecommunication industry for a time, Ed made his way to Tucson in 2001 to work at the University of Arizona (UA) as a telescope operator at the old 12-meter radio telescope on Kitt Peak. In 2003, he  migrated to a position with Pegasus Solutions, a Scottsdale software company, and then to graduate school at the University of Tulsa. But, he says, "I didn't want to leave Arizona and I always knew I'd come back!"

His journey back to Tucson would take nearly six years, during which he worked for the federal government in software development and network operations roles. "Eventually," says Ed, "I'd had enough of the East coast and decided to find my way back out west." He was hired by Tucson's Universal Avionics to maintain and enhance aircraft navigational database software. While this was a good opportunity and he was excited to be back in Arizona, Ed always had an interest in working in the space industry and so continued to look for openings at UA. We're glad that Ed eventually found a home at UA and LPL: "VIMS is a spectrometer, and I work with JPL to ensure that the instrument collects the data that our scientists require. It's a good role for me because it allows me to work with a spacecraft and also make use of my IT and software development experience."


Annie Wargetz joined the LPL family in January 2015 as the new Social Media Lead for the OSIRIS-REx mission. She is a member of the Communications and Public Engagement team and manages the social media presence for the mission. Annie is excited to be interacting with the OSIRIS-REx team and helping to tell the mission’s story. Prior to arriving in Tucson, Annie was a member of the Communications team for the Orion Program based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and designed to serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. She worked with program management, scientists, and engineers to learn about the spacecraft and its EFT-1 (Exploration Flight Test-1) mission, an uncrewed test flight that took place on December 5, 2014, sending Orion through the Van Allen belt twice, where it experienced high periods of radiation, reaching an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth at speeds of 20,000 mph and weathering temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it entered Earth’s atmosphere. Annie turned the knowledge into communications products, including lithographs, and interacted with the public at various events to get them excited about the spacecraft. Annie says she is honored to be a part of LPL and OSIRIS-REx mission.

Get to Know a Staff Scientist: Federico Fraschetti

Federico Fraschetti is an Associate Staff Scientist at LPL and Guest Lecturer/Faculty Affiliate Member of the Theoretical Astrophysics Program at the University of Arizona. He joined the department in 2009.

Department News

Get to Know a Staff Scientist: Federico Fraschetti

Federico Fraschetti is an Associate Staff Scientist at LPL and Guest Lecturer/Faculty Affiliate Member of the Theoretical Astrophysics Program at the University of Arizona. He joined the department in 2009. His research interests are in the origin of cosmic-rays, the particle acceleration/transport and the turbulence generation at shocks emitted in multi-scale explosive phenomena, as well as coronal mass ejections from the Sun, supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs).

He earned his B.S. and M.S. (2001) in Italy at the University of Rome La Sapienza and his Ph.D. (2004) at the University of Rome La Sapienza/University of Trento. Federico's doctoral research was on the modeling of ultra-relativistic shocks of GRBs, the most powerful explosions in the Universe. For this work, he was awarded the Tacchini prize by SAIt (Italian Society for Astronomy).

Prior to joining LPL, Federico held a postdoctoral appointment at Brera Astronomical Observatory (Italy) with the Swift mission for GRBs, before moving on to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow at CEA/Saclay (France), where his research was on numerical simulations of cosmic-rays and convective instabilities at supernova remnant shocks.

In his free time, Federico enjoys swimming and tennis, playing the violin, and cooking. He also enjoys time with his wife, renaissance art historian Evgenia Diakonenko, and his two children.

2015 Curson Travel Award

Ali Bramson and Kelly Miller have been announced as recipients of funds from the 2015 Curson Travel Scholarship.

Graduate Student News

2015 Curson Travel Award

Ali Bramson and Kelly Miller have been announced as recipients of funds from the 2015 Curson Travel Scholarship.

Ali is a fourth-year graduate student working with Associate Professor Shane Byrne. She plans to use the funds to support participation in a two-week summer field campaign in Iceland, followed by the fall 2015 HiRISE camera team meeting to be held in Lake Myvatn, Iceland. The field work is part of a Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Surfaces campaign intended to fulfill science objectives of Assistant Professor Christopher Hamilton's NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics grant.

Kellly Miller is a fifth-year graduate student advised by Professor Dante Lauretta. Her Curson award will help to fund travel to the Solar System Origins Gordon Research Conference (GRC), to be held June 28 to July 3, at Mount Holyoke College. The topic of the GRC, which is intended as a scientific conference with limited participation, is "The Physics and Chemistry of Building Planets: Recent Advances and Future Prospects." Kelly will present a poster and work with colleagues in the planetary formation community.

We'll report on the summer travel and research in the LPL Fall Newsletter!

2015 AP and Classified Staff Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Sarah Sutton, recipient of this year's LPL Appointed Personnel Staff Excellence Award, and to Eneida Guerra de Lima, recipient of the 2015 Classified Staff Excellence Award!

Department News

2015 AP and Classified Staff Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Sarah Sutton, recipient of this year's LPL Appointed Personnel Staff Excellence Award, and to Eneida Guerra de Lima, recipient of the 2015 Classified Staff Excellence Award!

Sarah Sutton is a Photogrammetry and Image Processing Scientist with the HiRISE project. She began working for Alfred McEwen as a student in 2006 and moved into a staff position in 2008. The group she leads, which includes 4 undergraduate students, produces digital terrain models (DTMs) from HiRISE, LROC, and CTX images. The nomination letters for Sarah cite many notable contributions, including:

  • development of methods to correct geometric distortions of images (produced by spacecraft pointing jitter), which not only improve DTMs and orthoimages, but are also valuable and applicable to other scientific studies and to certifying landing sites;
  • volunteering to support special studies, proposal preparation, and educational and outreach activities;
  • implementing innovations and automations that increase DTM production;
  • exceeding job expectations by providing service such as training LPL graduate students in production and analysis of DTMs.

Eneida Guerra de Lima joined LPL in October 2013 as an Information Technology Support Analyst, Principal, and immediately began making positive changes and contributions to LPL, improving the quality and effectiveness of IT services, identifying weaknesses and making recommendations and improvements. Eneida brought to LPL her expertise and previous experience with UA computing resources such as UAConnect and Outlook, and desktop support. Some specific examples of Eneida's superior performance include:

  • identifying weakness in data security for business operations, and making suggestions for updating and consolidated LPL services;
  • making time to multitask and resolve routine problems while carrying on other responsibilities of a more technical nature;
  • providing excellent customer support, being available, responsive, and communicative, providing follow-up service and detailed inquiry, with results that often apply to other users/areas;
  • taking on setup and networking of new copiers, including working with users to understand needs and working with the vendor to install and implement required software and networking, allowing the department to get full functionality from the machines;
  • advising and supporting academic AV enterprises, resulting in improvements to videoconferencing, and to classroom projection and computing.

Sarah and Eneida received their kudos at the LPL Spring Awards reception, held on April 22. Also acknowledged at the reception were Kenny Fine (Senior Systems Administrator with PIRL/HiRISE) and Maria Schuchardt (Program Coordinator, Senior with the Space Imagery Center). Kenny and Maria each received an Honorable Mention in the Appointed (Fine) and Classified (Schuchardt) categories; Maria is a previous recipient of the Staff Excellence Award (2005). As the classified staff recipient, Eneida's contributions were also acknowledged by Dean Joaquin Ruiz at the annual College of Science Staff Excellence Awards Luncheon held on April 15.

Congratulations Sarah and Eneida, and Kenny and Maria, and thank you for all you do!

James Keane Named Recipient of 2015 Gerard P. Kuiper Award

Congratulations to James Tuttle Keane, recipient of the 2015 Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award.

Graduate Student News

James Keane Named Recipient of 2015 Gerard P. Kuiper Award

Congratulations to James Tuttle Keane, recipient of the 2015 Gerard P. Kuiper Memorial Award.

James Keane is a fourth-year graduate student advised by Assistant Professor Isamu Matsuyama. He graduated from the University of Maryland (College Park) in 2011 with B.Sc. degrees in Astronomy (with High Honors) and Geology (with Honors). Keane's research interests include the formation and evolution of solar system planets, planetary satellites, and small bodies, with an emphasis on the interactions between rotational/orbital dynamics and geologic processes of terrestrial and icy bodies.

Keane was awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) for 2013-2016, for research on "Stability of Asteroid Regolith during Planetary Close Approaches." He is the recipient of several other awards, including a 2014 Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union (fall meeting) for "The Contribution of Impact Basins and Mascons to the Lunar Figure: Evidence for Lunar True Polar Wander, and a Past Low-Eccentricity, Synchronous Lunar Orbit." Keane was also awarded a 2014 Galileo Circle Scholarship from the University of Arizona's College of Science.

In 2014, Keane was first author on two journal articles:

  • Keane, J. T., Matsuyama, I. (2014). Evidence for lunar true polar wander and a past low-eccentricity synchronous lunar orbit. Geophysical Research Letters 41:6610
  • Keane, J. T., Pascucci, I., Espaillat, C., Woitke, P., Andrews, S., Kamp, I., Thi, W. F., Meeus, G., Dent, W. R. F. (2014). Evidence for Disk Flattening or Gas Depletion in Transitional Disks. Astrophysical Journal 787:152.

In addition to his studies and research, Keane has been actively involved with planetary science outreach in Tucson and at LPL, including serving as a volunteer for OSIRIS-REx, Tucson Festival of Books, and LPL special events. He volunteers, too, at the Pima Air and Space Museum; works as a counselor for UA Astronomy Camp; and serves as a writer and artist for 321 Science! Keane is also one of two co-organizers responsible for developing and organizing The Art of Planetary Science at LPL.

Keane plans to defend his dissertation in 2016.


The citation for the Kuiper Award reads: "This award is presented to students of the planetary sciences who best exemplify, through the high quality of their researches and the excellence of their scholastic achievements, the goals and standards established and maintained by Gerard P. Kuiper, founder of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Department of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona."

 

Recent PTYS/LPL Graduates

Melissa Dykhuis
Catherine Elder

Department News

Recent PTYS/LPL Graduates

Melissa Dykhuis
Catherine Elder

 

 
Patrick Harner
Youngmin JeongAhn
 
Huan Meng
Rob Zellem

 

 

Congratulations to Melissa Dykhuis, Catherine Elder, Patrick Harner, Youngmin JeongAhn, Huan Meng, and Rob Zellem, LPL's most recent graduates!

On November 21, 2014, Huan Meng defended his Ph.D. dissertation titled, "Planet Formation in the Terrestrial Zone." Huan's advisor was Regents' Professor George Rieke. Huan Meng is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Professor Rieke at Steward Observatory.

Melissa Dykhuis defended her Ph.D. dissertation on March 13, 2015. Her advisor was Professor Richard Greenberg and her dissertation was titled, "Asteroid Family Dynamics in the Inner Main Belt."

Catherine Elder defended on April 7, 2015. The Ph.D. dissertation is titled, "The Effects of Melt on Impact Craters on Icy Satellites and on the Dynamics of Io's Interior." Catherine was advised by Professor Adam Showman. She is set to begin a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Paul Hayne at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Patrick Harner's defense of his M.S. thesis took place on May 5, 2015. The thesis is titled, "Carbonates and Other Salts in the Atacama Desert and on Mars, and the Implications for the Role of Life in Carbonate Formation." Partick's advisor was Regents' Professor Victor Baker.

Youngmin JeohngAhn defended on May 1, 2015. He was advised by Professor Renu Malhotra. His dissertation is titled, "Orbital Distribution of Minor Planets in the Inner Solar System and Their Impact Flux on the Moon, Earth and Mars."

Rob Zellem's defense of his dissertation titled, "Observing Transiting Exoplanets: Removing Systematic Errors to Constrain Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics" was on April 29, 2015. His advisor was Professor Caitlin Griffith. Rob is moving on to JPL as well, with a postdoctoral appointment with Dr. Mark Swain.

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