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Press Release: UMASS Dartmouth Engineering Student receives Space Grant


UMASS Dartmouth Engineering Student receives Space Grant

UMass Dartmouth electrical engineering major, Justin McKennon (Springfield, MA) has earned a NASA Space Grant to support his undergraduate super computer research. McKennon is a junior electrical engineering major with minors in math and physics.

Author:  John Hoey
Date:  July 23, 2009
Department:   College Of Engineering
UMass Dartmouth is a recent affiliate of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for paid research experiences in nearly every area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics both on the UMass Dartmouth campus and at NASA research laboratories.

With the help of his advisors, Dr. Robert Fisher and Dr. Gaurav Khanna, McKennon wrote a detailed grant proposal explaining his idea for research, its importance to the scientific community, to NASA, and to himself.

"The grant covers all the costs of my research for the project, including any travel to present my work," said McKennon. "NASA has provided me with considerable funding for my research as well as a significant stipend. I want other students to know these types of grants are available."

McKennon's current research project is a collaborative effort with Dr. Khanna from the physics department. The team is attempting to prove exactly how beneficial graphic processing unit (GPU) based super computing can be by running a GPU against the central processing unit (CPU) in a very mathematically intensive set of calculations.  Mckennon's work calculates the energy of a small star or planet as it orbits a massive black hole.

"Working with this type of cutting edge technology has been an incredible experience. I've been seeing and learning things most people would never come in contact with, and that kind of experience is invaluable." McKennon said.  

Once the research is finished, Dr. Khanna and McKennon will submit the research for publication and presentation. McKennon said. "I will be given the opportunity to meet some of the greatest minds in science, all thanks to the NASA grant."  

Massachusetts Space Grant is a consortium of 4-year colleges and universities, community colleges and public outreach organizations. One of MASGC's primary activities is providing fellowships to Massachusetts students to enable them to engage in study and research projects and to attend meetings that they would not be able to do without Space Grant support.

For more information contact Professor Fisher at robert.fisher@umassd.edu or 508.999.8353. or visitwww/index.shtml
www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/spacegrant/home/index.html
 

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