IPAC welcomes four undergraduate students as part of NASA-funded FIELDS program

fields students

Four students from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) will spend 10 weeks this summer at IPAC conducting research in the area of big data analysis and visualization under the guidance of IPAC science staff members. The undergraduates are part of a group of students from underrepresented communities who are provided with research and training opportunities by the NASA-funded “Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets” (FIELDS) program managed and run by UCR.

We are excited to be involved in the FIELDS program, and to provide mentors and data driven research projects from the missions  and archives supported by IPAC,” - says George Helou, Director of IPAC.

It is particularly rewarding to identify talented students from historically underrepresented communities and motivate them with research opportunities to pursue careers in STEM.” – added Dr. Helou.

The FIELDS program is designed to provide a diverse set of educational and training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students, especially underrepresented minorities, in data science, visualization and its application in science and technology. JPL is the primary NASA center for the FIELDS Summer Internship Program, which lets undergraduates carry out a 10-week research project in the summer under the mentorship of senior researchers at JPL or IPAC.

IPAC is an excellent place with very knowledgeable staff able to provide the best training for the next generation of STEM workforce in handling big data and efficiently extracting valuable information from them. “ says Bahram Mobasher, a professor of physics and astronomy at UCR who is the principal investigator of the FIELDS program.

IPAC at Caltech is one of the leading science data centers for NASA Astrophysics missions. Teams of astronomers and engineers with expertise in high-performance computing, database management and data archiving provide support to large missions such as Spitzer, Herschel, NEOWISE, and Planck. IPAC is also home to the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NexScI), which is a science operations and analysis service organization for NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program. Several large astronomical archives such as IRSA, Keck Observatory Archive, NASA Exoplanet Archive and the NASA Extragalactic Database were designed and developed, and are currently operated by IPAC as well.

IPAC’s leading role in science operations and data archives for large NASA missions makes it a center of expertise in Big Data handling.  Working under the guidance of an IPAC mentor will give our FIELDS students direct access to this wealth of expertise.” – adds Prof Mobasher.

The students, mentors, and their projects

Edward Hernandez
Project: Interactive Visualization and Analysis of Spectral Energy Distributions in the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database
Mentor: Joseph Mazzarella
Co-mentor: Rick Ebert

Alfred Cayago
Project: Deducing the Mass Function of Field Brown Dwarfs from WISE
Mentor: Davy Kirkpatrick

Michael Randall
Project: Data-driven research with NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database
Mentor: Joseph Mazzarella
Co-mentors: Rick Ebert

Angela Lerias
Project: Visualization software development for Montage
Mentor:  Bruce Berriman

Student opportunities at IPAC

Students interested in exploring research opportunities at IPAC can read more about the following programs:

IPAC Visiting Graduate Fellowship Program

Caltech SURF

FIELDS Program

June 23rd, 2017
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