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FGCU Student Chosen for NASA Undergraduate Research Program
5/31/2001

FORT MYERS, FL – For Florida Gulf Coast University junior Rebekah Hill, the year 2001 definitely will be a space odyssey. The liberal studies student with a major in computer science was chosen through a competitive process as one of America’s top undergraduates by NASA to participate in the organization’s Undergraduate Student Research Program this summer.

“I am the most excited about working with a group of people in a research environment,” Hill said. “I have never been involved in a research group tackling real world problems. It will probably be inspiring to work in a team, to learn from the other members, and to learn new strategies to approach problems.”

From the more than 1,100 undergraduates from all over the United States who applied for the new program, NASA chose only 107 student researchers for positions at nine participating NASA centers. Hill will complete her research at the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland from June 11 through August 17.

“It just sounded like a great opportunity,” Hill said. “The science and mathematics professors I've had at FGCU, especially Dr. (Chuck) Lindsey and Professor (Cheryl) Wiecek, have always encouraged me to pursue my educational goals and to be open to new avenues of study. I will be working in the Computational Sciences Branch of the Computer Services Division doing a performance comparison of an NT cluster.”

NASA says it created the program to provide rising juniors and seniors with hands-on, challenging research experiences that kindle continued student interest in fields aligned with NASA’s research and development mission. It says the program will build a bridge between NASA’s existing K-12 Education Program and higher education options, strengthen its commitment to university research, and highlight the critical need to increase the nation’s undergraduate and graduate science, engineering, mathematics and technology skill base.

NASA says the Glenn Research Center is its lead center for aeropropulsion, aerospace power and turbomachinery, and conducts world-class research, developing and transferring key technologies to U.S. industries. The end product is knowledge that is fully available to other NASA centers; the aerospace, energy and automotive industries; other government agencies; and academia.

Student researchers will be required to work 10 consecutive weeks at 40 hours per week. They receive a $5,000 stipend plus round-trip transportation. At the completion of the research mission, students must write a paper on their NASA-USRP research experience and discuss their research in public forums, if requested.

“It seems likely that I will have a lot to discuss upon my return,” Hill said. “Sharing my experiences with FGCU students during forums or workshops might inspire them to get more involved with science and math. It really helps me to have teachers who want their students to learn. Their enthusiasm and respect for their disciplines helps me stay focused and encourages me to put forth my best effort.”

FGCU is an accredited comprehensive public university created to address the higher educational needs of Southwest Florida and is dedicated to providing a learning-centered environment that offers high quality educational opportunities, such as encouraging students to participate in research opportunities.

Hill is a native of Bloomington, Ill. and now lives in Naples.

For more information, contact Dr. Chuck Lindsey at (941) 590-7168 or clindsey@fgcu.edu. More information about the NASA-USRP program is available online at: education.nasa.gov/usrp/


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