Josef Beranek, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, heard about the University of North Dakota while finishing his master’s degree studies at the Institute of Chemical Technology in his native Czech Republic.
His adviser, Dr. Jan Paca, told him about the opportunity to study analytical chemistry at UND. Here, he has linked up with a fellow Czech native, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Alena Kubatova, who is now his mentor.
“I like that I can come with my own ideas and will never be turned down,” said Beranek, about working with Kubatova. “She is a critical thinker and always has helpful suggestions.”
Since coming to UND, Beranek has received the Chemistry Department’s Dr. Roland Severson Graduate Research Scholarship, based on his outstanding research on detailed characterization of compounds within atmospheric aerosols. He also won a competitive award for his research proposal to develop “a new analytical approach for determination of oligomeric structures in air particulate matter.” Beranek says the structures are widely discussed among chemistry researchers, but they have yet to be recognized.
“The award allows me to concentrate on this new and exciting topic,” he said.
and Kristine Lesch
Joshua Goldade of Velva, N.D., and Kristine Lesch of Hibbing, Minn., electrical engineering students from the UND School of Engineering and Mines, won top honors at the seventh annual BOSS Business Plan Competition at the recent Marketplace for Entrepreneurs 2009 in Bismarck.
U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad and former North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, organizers of the Marketplace event, honored Goldade and Lesch for their business plan for SunAir Power, a company that would create wind and solar power generators for outdoor advertising, ranching, and research applications.
Twenty-four schools from across the Midwest submitted business plans for the competition.
William Swearson and
William Swearson, a first-year graduate student in space studies from Towner, N.D., and Christopher Kruse, a sophomore from Harrington, Neb., double-majoring in aviation and atmospheric science, are in store for a high-flying adventure this summer, all in the name of research.
They are among 30 students, representing 27 universities across the country, selected for a new program that exposes aspiring atmospheric scientists to hands-on, real-world research aboard NASA’s DC-8 research platform, which is the space agency’s premier aircraft. The Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) is part of a cooperative agreement between UND’s National Suborbital Education and Research Center (NSERC), which manages the research jet, and NASA’s Airborne Science Program.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for me, because I never thought that I would get a chance to do this,” said 21-year-old Kruse. “I initially came to UND for aviation, like many others, but I was lucky to become interested in atmospheric sciences also.”
The program introduces students to the collaborative and cross-disciplinary potential of airborne science research, according to Alexandra Novak, NSERC public outreach director. She said SARP gives advanced undergraduate and early graduate students the opportunity to participate in hands-on research aboard the DC-8 jet.
“NASA has recently come to terms with the fact that about 60 percent of their engineers and scientists will be retiring between now and 2011, and they are trying to recruit a new workforce,” Novak said. “We hope that this mission will eventually recruit a new generation of Earth systems science researchers interested in working for NASA.”
The students will participate in onboard research experiments over a number of locations in southern California between July 6 and August 14. They will collect air samples over California’s Central Valley to monitor the effects of larger-scale cattle operations on the atmosphere, take multi-spectral images of algae growth in Monterey Bay to study how biological processes in the ocean impact seasonal development, and, finally, take images of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta to see how land-use applications are affecting the hydrology and ecology of the delta.
Swearson, 25, is a veteran of four past summer research opportunities, but he says he’s really looking forward to the chance to get aboard the DC-8.
“I have the opportunity to participate in hands-on data collection in a unique setting, and I will be working with professionals in a field that I enjoy,” Swearson said.