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Higher Education Incentives Award Recipients

Each year, the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium awards a number of Higher Education Incentives grants to faculty and staff from WSGC Affiliate Member colleges and universities to support value-added, higher education teaching/training projects related to any space or aerospace discipline. This is a seed-grant program for undergraduate education projects which support the most innovative ideas on how to increase the space and aerospace content of undergraduate university and college offerings.

WSGC is pleased to announce and congratulate the following recipients of the Higher Education Incentives Awards.


Martin Douglas
Lawrence University
Project Title: 
Open Source Microscopy at Lawrence University
This project will build a student-friendly, open-source, research-grade microscope. It aims to train students to design new optical tools that can be built and deployed in remote locations.

Steven Girard
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Project Title:
 Nanostructured Zinc Oxide Gas Sensors for Space Travel: Development of a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)
A course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) will be developed. Students will conduct authentic research to develop nanostructured zinc oxide sensors for carbon dioxide detection for use in space travel applications.

Andrea Henle
Carthage College
Project Title: 
Ground-based Microgravity Simulation for the Study of Cancer Development in Space
Synopsis: This proposal investigates the molecular events supporting cancer cell development in simulated microgravity. Both a zebrafish model of melanoma and cancer cell lines will be used to study how cancer develops in the space environment.

Lorena Rios Mendoza
University of Wisconsin - Superior
Project Title: 
Collection samples in an unknown planet: Curriculum development and Student activities
This is a curriculum development proposal for student activities using different instruments and sensors to analyze samples in situ (fieldwork). The simulation will replicate collection and analyses of samples from an unknown planet and unknown environment and influence the development of a complementary field laboratory manual.

Luis Rodriguez
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project Title: 
Simulation and Control of Reconfigurable Space Mechanisms
The proposed project seeks to leverage prior WSGC funding to allow the research team to develop and offer a new senior level controls course to MSOE undergraduate students. Specifically, the goals of this project are to 1) create and offer a new undergraduate course for MSOE students termed “Simulation and Control of Space Mechanisms” 2) develop hands-on lab experiences that leverage the MSOE Reconfigurable Space Mechanism (MRSM) platform, and 3) provide two opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in controls related research projects in the Reconfigurable Mechanisms Research Group (RMRG) at MSOE for the 2022-2023 academic year.


Rex Hanger
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Project Title: Digitization of Astro-biological specimens: Project-Based Collections for Project-Based Learning about Mass Extinctions.
Synopsis: Astro-biological specimens (i.e. fossils) from Permian mass extinction events will be digitized in order to be utilized in lab exercises within general education and advanced courses at UW-W. 

Somesh Roy
Marquette University
Project Title:
Grit and Self-Regulation in Engineering Education: An Intervention via Community of Practice.
We aim to develop a faculty development program to promote and facilitate implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions incorporating grit and self-regulation in STEM course pedagogy.


Jeff Clark
Lawrence University
Project Title:
Remote Sensing of Local Earth Surface Phenomena Using UAVs
Use of UAVs to facilitate discovery-based learning modules for an undergraduate course in remote sensing.

Dana Garrigan
Carthage College
Project Title: Development of a New Climate Change Course Utilizing Inquiry-based Analysis of NASA’s Earth Science Data
Synopsis: This project seeks to develop inquiry-based activities utilizing NASA’s Earth science datasets to enhance understanding of climate science and policy.

Lindsay McHenry
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Project Title: Bringing Planetary Science research into the classroom
Synopsis: I will work with students to design new research modules to augment introductory and advanced courses in Planetary Geology.

Allison Murray
Marquette University
Project Title: Can Anyone Hear Me? Assessing the Transactional Distance for Engineering Students during COVID-19
Synopsis: We are investigating how students have been affected by new COVID-19 learning environments. Our team is working to design and deploy solutions to reduce isolation and create an active, collaborative, and safe learning environment.

Mohammad Rahman
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Project Title: Introducing Coordination Control of Mobile Robots Course to UWM-ME Program
Synopsis: The proposed higher education project focuses on the development of a new course on ‘Coordination Control of Mobile Robots,’ and train future leaders in innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.

Daniel Rust
University of Wisconsin-Superior
Project Title: Developing Curriculum and Student Activities Based Upon NASA Aerospace Initiatives
Synopsis: The goal of this project is to develop academic curriculum and student activities around NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) initiatives including commercial supersonic aircraft, system design for urban air mobility, and electrified aircraft.

Brian Slaboch
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project Title: Fundamentals of Space Mechanisms: development of an undergraduate course training students in space mechanism design
Synopsis: The goal of this project is to create and offer a new course for Milwaukee School of Engineering students that provides training in the fundamentals of space mechanism design. The funds requested will also support two students to perform space related research in the reconfigurable mechanisms research group.

Melissa Vigil
Marquette University
Project Title: Rapid Development of Introductory Physics Labs for Distance Learning in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Synopsis: Our goal is to develop introductory labs for the distance learning setting and introducing more design iteration to maintain the experiential aspect of the labs to be built upon for future labs.

Matthew Zorn
Carthage College
Project Title: Integrating Geoscience, Remote Sensing, and GIS for Undergraduate Teaching and Research
Synopsis: This project develops a set of undergraduate teaching and research materials in the Geospatial Science department. It connects our “Drones,” Remote Sensing, and Geographic Information Science (GIS) courses.


David Brownholland
Carthage College
Project Title: Development of Flow Chemistry Experiments for the Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory Sequence
Synopsis: We will develop a set of undergraduate experiments for the introductory-level organic chemistry laboratory courses using flow chemistry. Flow chemistry, which is increasingly demonstrating its value in pharmaceutical research, is the only way of conducting chemical reactions in space. The proposed set of experiments will 1) introduce students to flow chemistry and its applications in space travel, 2) provide authentic research experiences, and 3) provide more discovery-based experiments in organic chemistry. In each multi-week experiment, students will create a “heat map” of various reaction conditions using a multi-well plate, decide which conditions to attempt using flow, and then optimize flow conditions to determine the best method of synthesizing an organic target. This procedure mirrors modern academic and industrial research. Eventually, students will work on reactions in which flow conditions have not been published, allowing students to experience authentic research and contribute to the field. Further, the “heat map” concept provides students with the ability to screen large sets of reactions and determine trends – enabling conversion into discovery-based experiments where students discover fundamental principles through the data they collect as opposed to through lecture.

Garcia Guilherme
Medical College of Wisconsin
Project Title: Incorporating concepts of environment control at the international space station into a transport phenomena course
Synopsis: The goal of this project is to develop a series of lectures about engineering concepts related to Environmental Control and Life Support Systems aboard the international space station.

Andrea Henle
Carthage College
Project Title: Sharing the excitement of space biology nationwide and within Carthage College and the state of Wisconsin
Synopsis: This proposal supports further development of lab experiments, field trips, & guest lecturer visits in a space biology course. Additionally, this proposal supports the development of a website for educator resources in space biology.

Lindsay McHenry
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
Project Title: Using Planetary Geology to teach science communication
Synopsis: I will introduce “popular science” communication activities into my existing upper-level Planetary Geology course, and then hire advanced students to help prepare related teaching materials for my 100-level Geology of the Planets course.


Deborah Tobiason
Carthage College
Project Title: Space Phage: an undergraduate course-based research experience for investigating the adaptation of bacteriophages in the spaceflight environment
Synopsis: The Space Phage pilot project is a collaborative effort between Carthage College, the University of Wisconsin River Falls, and Dr. Graham Hatfull’s laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.  SEA-PHAGES is a long-standing, HHMI-sponsored nationwide program that provides undergraduate students with an authentic research experience aimed at isolating bacteriophages (phages), which are viruses that specifically infect bacteria. This pilot project, “Space Phage”, aims to expand the current Phage Hunters course to include additional semesters in which students test their isolated phages on the International Space Station (ISS). During this pilot study, stability of phages in the space environment will be measured, and educational materials related to the project will be developed for future use by the SEA.

William Farrow
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project Title: In Support of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle University Senior Design Projects
Synopsis: A funding grant is requested to support the curriculum development of a series of senior design projects at the Milwaukee School of Engineering related to the development of commercial applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The funds requested will support the two co-investigators in researching and reporting to the WSGC, the legal regulations and the possible liabilities of operating UAVs with students.

Rex Hanger
Project Title: Incorporating Astrobiology Utilizing Virtual Field Trips (VFT’s) in an Introductory-level, General Education Geology Course - Earth & Life History.
Synopsis: PI will travel to a field site in NV for basic recon that contains exposed rocks that record the end-Permian mass extinction - the largest astrobiological crisis in Earth’s history. Later, he will lead a field class there, where they will collectively produce digital imagery of multiple formats. At UW-W, the PI and 2 student workers will generate at least three Virtual Field Trips (VFT’s) from the data. This will be used in one of the university’s largest general ed science classes to incorporate astrobiology within.


Douglas Arion
Carthage College
Project Title: Characterization of Rapidly Rotating Asteroids through Filtered Photometry
Synopsis: This project will determine the compositions of the components of small, rapidly rotating asteroids.

Jeffery Clark
Lawrence University
Project Title: Developing Spacial Intiution Using an Augmented Reality Sandbox
Synopsis: Development of structured activities in an interactive tactile and visual learning environment (the Augmented Reality Sandbox) to improve geospatial reasoning.

Richard Stewart
Project Title: Developing a Model for Supply Chain Management Internships in the Aeronautics and Space Industry and Government
Synopsis: The Transportation and Logistics Research Center is proposing to the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium to develop an academic Supply Chain Management internship model that can be used throughout by the Aeronautics and Space Industry and Government agencies such as NASA.

Andrea Henle
Carthage College
Project Title: Development of an upper-level biology course on human health and disease in space
Synopsis: The goal of this project is to develop an advanced space biology course at Carthage College. Students will analyze scientific articles, meet NASA scientists, and use the GeneLab database to investigate space research.


Lindsay McHenry
Project Title: Google Mars for an intro-level online Geology of the Planets course
Synopsis: Developing online “lab” activities using Google Mars for an online-only, introductory course on Planetary Geology.

Benjamin Robert
Project Title: Direct from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope: Introducing Citizen Science into Wisconsin Universities and Colleges
Synopsis: An initiative to introduce instructors and students at Wisconsin universities and colleges to the wide zooniverse of Citizen Science. This project will involve students and instructors in the excitement of discovery using data coming directly from NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, turn astronomy classes across the state of Wisconsin intro research communities, and will provide instructors with training on how to use existing zooniverse projects in their own lesson plans and how to create private zooniverse projects for their students.

Robin Mello
Project Title: Tale of Scale
Synopsis: Tale of Scale integrates astronomy and theater to educate students about space science, an investigation in how immersive technology impacts STEM learning, and new student-developed outreach programming at the UWM Planetarium.

Christopher Stockdale
Marquette University
Project Title: Synchronous Sharing of Upper Division Physics Courses Between Jesuit Universities and Colleges
Synopsis: This program will develop a process that will allow universities and colleges to share upper division physics courses with one another’s students. 


Lindsay McHenry
Project Title: Incorporating Astrobiology into an Intro-Level Online Geology of the Planets Course
Synopsis: Creating and testing do-it-yourself astrobiology lab activities for an online, intro level Geology of the Planets course.

Nadejda Kaltcheva
Project Title: Minor in Astronomy Re-establishing at UW-Oshkosh
Synopsis: A small observatory to facilitate student research and for curriculum development of class content and laboratories connected to the re-established astronomy minor.

Erlan Wheeler
Carthage College
Project Title: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program at Carthage College
Synopsis: Our long-term goal is a program based at Carthage College that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), colloquially known as drones, to motivate and facilitate undergraduate research.


Jeffrey Clark
Lawrence University
Project Title: Remote Sensing of Models and Mars
Synopsis: To develop laboratory activities on the evolution and measurement of scale-model landforms using IR and color cameras. The models will be compared to remotely sensed imagery from Earth and Mars.


Douglas Arion
Carthage College
Project Title: Observational Astronomy of Planetary Nebulae
Synopsis: We will study morphology of planetary nebulae, utilizing narrow-band imaging. This research is relevant to studies of extra-solar planets, such as are being studied through the NASA Kepler mission.

Kerry Kuehn
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Project Title: Physics: A student’s guide through the great texts
Synopsis: To facilitate the publication of a textbook which provides an undergraduate level introduction to physics based on the reading and analysis of selections from foundational texts.

Lindsay McHenry
Project Title: Developing an online, intro-level lab course on the geology of the planets
Synopsis: I seek funds to develop an online, intro-level lab course on the geology of the planets at UWM to be offered in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Harald Schenk
Project Title: Lab development for AST 291-Astronautics
Synopsis: We wish to add a lab to our Astronautics course. It will include a high-altitude balloon component.

Matthew Traum
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project Title: MechE Interconnectivity Via Integrated Multicourse Model Rocketry Projects
Synopsis: Design, construction, flight testing, and analysis of student-built rockets interconnect disciplines via multi-course projects, providing continuity across four years of the MechE curriculum.

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