Taylor Peterson ’22 wins prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship
Taylor Peterson ’22 is the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award.
Ms. Peterson graduated with a B.A. in Physics and participated in the Carthage space sciences program before enrolling as a Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering at University of Central Florida. At UCF, She continues her work on propellant management.
The NSF GRFP recognizes scientific promise and rewards undergraduate achievement in the sciences. The five-year fellowship provides three years of graduate funding and is extremely competitive with only 12 to 16 percent of applicants receiving fellowships over the past five years.
Ms. Peterson was also the recipient of the James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship. The fellowship, awarded by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, supported Ms. Peterson’s research at Kennedy Space Center during 2022. The fellowship is designed to introduce undergraduate and early-stage graduate students from underrepresented groups to space research and technology development. She is one of three students from across the U.S. who were selected to participate.
Ms. Peterson’s graduate work builds on her impressive work at Carthage in propellant technologies. She describes her research at UCF as “propellant storage and transfer systems of super-cooled cryogenic fuels.” These propellants behave differently in the microgravity environment of space than they do on earth. Her research focuses on studying and tracking cryogenic fluid flows under different gravity conditions and developing approaches to gauging the locations of boiling propellant in transfer processes.
Ms. Peterson’s work at Carthage included several parabolic flight experiments, two suborbital space flight experiments, and a range of leadership positions within the space sciences program at Carthage. She was also recruited to be a “flight coach” by the ZERO-G Corporation, where she provides inflight technical support to researchers and commercial tourist customers of the company.
As for Ms. Peterson’s career aspirations, she said, “I hope to continue research after grad school that will help our Artemis generation safely get to the moon and eventually Mars. More specifically, I wish to continue my research with fluid behaviors in microgravity.”
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