St. Mary’s science students gain additional experience in the lab with directed research. This credit-based course allows students to get an early start on developing complex theoretical, observational, and/or laboratory techniques. Very often, we have first year students who begin working on projects that continue each semester and become their senior capstone research project. Students who start early have a greater chance of earning paid research internship positions here at SMCM and at other institutions, scholarships, and publications.
St. Mary’s Projects (SMP)
The St. Mary’s Project is the capstone research project for graduating SMCM seniors. Students work independently with guidance from their mentors. This in-depth research experience allows SMCM students to investigate their true passions and solve unexpected problems along the way. In many cases our students end up pursuing career paths based on their astrophysics SMP.
For both Directed Research and St. Mary’s Projects, students may have a mentor who is a St. Mary’s professor or they may have an external mentor with a St. Mary’s faculty liaison. Past external mentors have hailed from NASA, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and other universities.
Recent Student Projects
- “Particle Production Near Massive Objects,” Tommie Day ’18 (mentor: De Pree)
- “Building a Radio Telescope,” Ryan Johnson ’18 (mentor: De Pree)
- “Modeling the Universe as Ideal Gasses,” Tyler Jones ’18 (mentor: De Pree)
- “Particle Acceleration Driven by Radiation Magnetohydrodynamic Instabilities,” Hannah Lewis ’16 (mentor: Dezen [USD]; liaison: De Pree)
- “Chemical Composition of the Stratosphere of Neptune,” Elizabeth Nance ’16 (mentor: Moullet [NRAO]; liaison Milne)
- “Apollo ALSEP/SIDE Observations of Stairstep Flux Profiles in the Terrestrial Magnetotail,” Anastasia Newheart ’16 (mentor: Collier [NASA]; liaison: Milne)