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News Release 17-023

NSF awards 2017 Graduate Research Fellowships

2,000 STEM students receive honor

Telescope Build

NSF fellow Steven Villanueva Jr. is at The Ohio State University (OSU) researching exoplanets, or planets that orbit other stars. He does so by precisely measuring the brightness of the host star, then monitoring the star over time for the dip in brightness when a planet passes in front of it. Villanueva, who built a robotic and automated telescope to study exoplanets, is the president of the OSU chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American Scientists (SACNAS). He has served as the Department of Astronomy's representative on the Breakfast of Science Champions (BOSC) organizing committee, which brings local middle school students to various science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments to engage in hands-on demonstrations and meet with scientists. Villanueva is a veteran, having completed his service as a senior airman in 2007. He served as an aircraft support equipment mechanic.

Credit: Steven Villanueva Jr.


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Kavita Krishnaswamy

GRFP fellow Kavita Krishnaswamy studies in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Krishnaswamy's research involves the development of robotic systems to provide assistance and increase independence for people with disabilities. She is developing several prototype robotic systems that will support transferring, repositioning and personal care, with a focus on accessible user interfaces for control that are feasible for persons with severe disabilities. As a graduate student with a physical disability, Krishnaswamy is committed to using advanced technology to achieve independence in daily living.

Credit: Kavita Krishnaswamy, UMBC


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