I am a senior from southwestern Colorado majoring in physics and political science. When I graduated from high school I attended Arizona State University for a while as a Computer Science major. After discovering a real disdain for programming I returned to Colorado and currently am enrolled at Fort Lewis College. There are only a few physics majors at Fort Lewis so there is a lot of personal time with the professors.
During the winter of 2001 I began study into the field of Quantum Electrodynamics under the tutelage of Dr. Ashley Shultz. This developed into a research opportunity over the summer through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. Besides developing a deep respect for Dr. Richard Feynman's work in the field and overall approach to learning, I have continued this work on my own in my free time (of course, my professors are never far away).
This summer I am working with the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. My direct advisor is Dr. Larry Evans. However, other team members are constantly there to provide any required assistance. I will be working to analyze Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) readings from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission. NEAR orbited the asteroid 433 Eros. It followed this first-time feat up by successfully landing and continuing to transmit from Eros's surface even though it had not been designed to do so. The orbital and surface data provided by the GRS will give scientists a great understanding of the composition of certain classes of asteroids. Knowledge of asteroid composition offers unique insight into the origins of the solar system.