Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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CLaSP doctoral student receives Newkirk Fellowship at High Altitude Observatory

Posted: February 12, 2018

CLaSP doctoral student receives Newkirk Fellowship at High Altitude Observatory

Climate & Space is very pleased to announce that doctoral student Yeimy Rivera has been selected to receive a Newkirk Fellowship from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)/ High-Altitude Observatory (HAO), in Boulder, CO. 

The Newkirk Fellowship provides financial support for graduate student research visits to HAO allowing for 3-6 months per year in a single visit. The total supported length is 9 months, which can be spread out over up to 3 years. Newkirk Fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, scientific potential, and compatibility of the student's interests with current HAO research pursuits. 

“It was very exciting receiving this fellowship,” says Ms. Rivera. “I have always hoped for the opportunity to work at the High Altitude Observatory. I am especially excited to learn more about the instrumentation, as well as, to meet and collaborate with the research scientists there!”

"One of the nice things about this fellowship is that by working at HAO, [Yeimy] will get in touch with a lot of top-level scientists working on many solar and space physics projects." says CLaSP Professor Enrico Landi, who, along with CLaSP Professor Susan Lepri, is Rivera's academic advisor. "This gives her an incredible opportunity to forge connections and collaborations, and vastly expand her expertise."  

Ms. Rivera studies Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and her research primarily focuses on investigating the mechanisms that heat and accelerate CMEs from the inner corona into interplanetary space. “Our goal is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the eruption process to improve the current CME models,” says Yeimy. 

"Yeimy is currently conducting empirical modeling of CME plasma using in-situ measurements of the CME plasmas charge state composition," says Professor Landi. Rivera's measurements use data managed by the Solar and Heliospheric Research Group (SHRG), which includes Professors Landi and Lepri, and several other Climate & Space faculty and researchers. 

"This type of work is important because CMEs are the most dangerous manifestations of Space Weather," he said, "and can cause extensive damage to human assets in space (communication, research, and military satellites) as well as on the ground (power grids etc.). For this reason, Yeimy's work is central to our group's work because she is using our data, studying a phenomenon that is at the center of our group's scientific activities, and her results could be extremely important for the global space weather modeling efforts of [Professor Tamas] Gombosi's Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF) group. So, her work fits perfectly with the space research conducted by our department." 

Yeimy came to CLaSP because of her interest in Solar and Heliophysics. “I was particularly interested in the diversity of work going on in the department ranging from data analysis, instrumentation, and modeling,” she says. After graduation, she plans to pursue post-doctoral positions in the field to gain more experience as a researcher. “Eventually I hope to become a professor,” she adds, “to have the opportunity to teach and mentor students as well, as continue to conduct research.”

From the Newkirk Fellowship site:
"HAO Newkirk Fellows will work with guidance from HAO scientists and engineers on projects related to their thesis, qualifying exams, or other research projects. During this time Newkirk Fellows will have access to state-of-the-art observational and computational facilities in their thesis work. These include the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC), as well as local Unix workstations, data archives, and libraries at HAO/NCAR. HAO Newkirk Fellows are encouraged to participate in a wide range of active research ventures, including study of the Earth's ionosphere, thermosphere, and magnetosphere, observations and simulations of coronal mass ejections, spectro-polarimetric observations and interpretation using HAO instrumentation and data inversion tools, probing solar magnetism through observations and modeling, and instrument development."

The Newkirk Fellowship is named in honor of Gordon A. Newkirk Jr., astrophysicist, creator of the HAO white-light coronagraph and a former HAO director. The fellowship program has supported graduate research at HAO for several decades.

Congratulations, Yeimy!