Skip to main content

Miranda Harkess, Physics Major, Peer Mentor, UMass Boston, Rising Senior

Miranda Harkess is a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts-Boston (UMB) where she is currently majoring in physics. As an intern for the Center of Astrophysics (CfA), Miranda will be working with Dr. Joseph Hora to analyze and better understand the process of star formation in the outer regions of the Milky Way Galaxy. Her project involves using infrared spectra that was obtained from NASA's infrared telescope on Maunakea to analyze and understand the physical properties of young stars. Using this data will help determine the spectral types and show the relations of the properties for young stars to the IRAC’s photometry. Miranda hopes that the internship will help expand her knowledge of star formation. Also, she hopes to build her analytical skills. Outside of research and school Miranda loves to play tennis, take her cats on walks, hang out with her friends and family – and crochet.

Melanie Guerra, Chemistry and Physics, UMass Lowell, Rising Junior

Melanie Guerra is a student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell majoring in Chemistry with the Forensic Science option and minoring in Physics. She hopes to pursue Chemistry and Physics in graduate school and work for the FBI one day. As an intern at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory-UMass/Latino Initiative Program (SAO/LIP), Melanie will be utilizing digital forensics to understand how Harvard's Astronomical Photographic Glass Plate Collection was processed alongside library staff at the Wolbach Library. She will be undertaking digital forensics tasks in order to map the digital ecosystem associated with the legacy plate digitization workflow and photometry processing pipeline. She hopes to learn more about digital forensics and how it is used in science.

Dashon Jones, Physics and Mathematics, UMass Lowell, Rising Senior

Dashon Jones is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) majoring in Physics and Mathematics. At the Center for Astrophysics, Dashon will be working with Dr. Julian Munoz to study the properties of light and X-rays in the early universe. This will use 21-cm data to run cosmological simulations using 21cmFAST code. This will allow him to understand which properties of the first X-ray sources we are sensitive to and determine if they were black holes in High-mass X-ray binaries. At UML, Dashon worked in the Theoretical Cosmology group. Apart from research, Dashon enjoys hiking mountains, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.

Adriana Medina, Computer Science, UMass Lowell, Rising Sophomore

Enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Adriana Medina is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science with an interest in software development and cyber security. She spends her free time enjoying nature, volunteering, taking up new hobbies, spending time with friends, and listening to all sorts of music. While still unsure of where she wants to take her future, Adriana believes that the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory - UMass/Latino Initiative Program will shine some light. Advisors Dr. Sarah Jeffreson and Gus Beane guide her toward crafting the first extensively detailed census of giant molecular cloud (GMC) lifecycles across an entire simulated disk galaxy. The research centers around unveiling the physical properties of the atomic hydrogen clouds that lead to GMC formation and therefore star formation. This is done using Python, self-consistent models of chemical pathways, and cloud properties obtained from these models.

Ryhan Mortuza, Computer Science, UMass Lowell, Rising Junior

Ryhan Mortuza is a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics. Ryhan has always been fascinated by the idea of climate change, and what we can do as a society to prevent it from causing further harm to this planet. As an intern for the Center for Astrophysics, Ryhan will be working alongside Caroline Nowlan and Gonzalo Abad to dive deep into the wonders of Earth’s atmosphere, specifically its air quality and the pollution within it. Using various data analysis and computational techniques that satellites use to detect pollutants, Ryhan will observe the global distribution and source of these pollutants and contribute toward the mitigation of global warming and climate change. Aside from his passions for computer science and Earth's environment, Ryhan loves to spend his time working out at the gym, reading various genres of books, gardening, and playing basketball.

Adrian Peguero, Physics, UMass Boston, Rising Junior

Adrian Peguero is a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston majoring in Physics. He is an active member of the chess club. As an intern at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory-UMass/Latino Initiative Program, Adrian will be working alongside Dr. Jason Eastman in the discovery and categorization of exoplanets through the use of data derived from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) as well as from Gaia which will be modeled with EXOFASTv2. The results produced from this software will then be vetted. Additionally, Adrian will be diagnosing and tweaking whatever failures or issues arise during this process. Through this internship, Adrian hopes to gain valuable experience in scientific research while gaining a better understanding of physics through an analytical and programming lens. When not in class, Adrian enjoys chatting with friends and playing the piano and trumpet.

Seijiro Yoshihara, Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell, Rising Senior

Seijiro Yoshihara is currently a mechanical engineering major with a minor in aerospace studies at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UML). He will be working with Edward Tong in the Submillimeter Receiver Lab group. As an intern at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory-UMass/Latino Initiative Program, he will explore the application of 3D printing techniques in the development of instrumentation for radio-astronomy, as well as investigating novel magnetic circuits for superconducting detectors. Through the program, Seiji hopes to expand his skills in engineering such as CAD modeling and coding. At UML, Seiji works in a lab on campus testing the mechanical properties of knit textiles.