Two University of Hawaii at Hilo students pursuing double majors in astronomy and physics have earned prestigious and highly competitive national internships in their respective fields.
Junior Robert Pipes has been accepted to the National Undergraduate Fellowship through the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). This summer, Pipes will attend a one-week series of lectures on plasma physics at Princeton University before beginning a nine-week research project with David Pace at the General Atomics DIII-D tokamak in San Diego, Calif.
His project will involve tracking high-energy ions to model heat loss along the walls of the reactor. Jordan Bledsoe, a sophomore, has accepted an offer of a Maria Mitchell Observatory summer internship in Nantucket, Mass. She is one of just six selected out of 180 applicants for the internship, which is part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supported by the National Science Foundation.
Bledsoe leaves at the end of May for her 10-week internship. She expects to be assigned a research project on “Quasars as markers of distant galaxy clusters” or “structure and evolution of clusters of galaxies.”
Marianne Takamiya, UH-Hilo assistant professor of astronomy, said both internships are highly coveted, and being among the few who are selected is a great, personal achievement that sets up future success.
“Robert is the first student from UH-Hilo to be admitted to the PPPL Internship, where students typically go on to top-notch universities or companies following their undergraduate work,” Takamiya explained. “The Maria Mitchell Observatory Internship is of similar caliber and Jordan and a small, select number of students will be mentored by visiting astronomers from renowned universities like Harvard, Yale and the University of California.”