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BHSU student earns NASA research stipend

Niles Armstrong, (center) a BHSU student who recently earned a $5,000 research stipend from NASA, says his mentor Professor Nag Parthasarathi (left) and Dr. Curtis Card, chair of the department mathematics, (right) encouraged him to apply for the grant. Armstrong says the NASA-funded research, along with his mathematics courses, are preparing him to reach his future goal of working in aerospace science.

Niles Armstrong, a Black Hills State University junior mathematics major from Gordon, Neb., was recently selected to receive a $5,000 NASA Space Grant Student Stipend for research.

Armstrong, who was selected by the NASA Space Grant Consortium Management Team, says he applied for the program at the urging of Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, assistant professor of math at BHSU. Following several discussions, Nag directed Armstrong to an area of research that not only challenges him but also fits with his career goals.

“The problem that my mentor and I are currently discussing and studying is the Goddard's famous sounding rocket problem. Once we came across this educational stipend it seemed to fit perfectly with the research I wanted to do and also help prepare me in the future to the field of aerospace science and NASA in general through my pursuit of graduate degrees,” Armstrong says. “I am planning to attend graduate school to obtain a PhD in applied mathematics and I hope to work in an institution such as NASA where I could apply this expertise.”

Armstrong notes that this is the 40th anniversary of NASA's preeminent success in astrodynamics which was achieved by sending the first manned mission to the Moon.

“I have been following NASA's goal which I am paraphrasing ‘Mission to Moon and beyond by 2018’. This is an exciting time for undergraduates like me to get involved in such an endeavor,” Armstrong says.

In pursuit of his long term goal, Armstrong is also planning to apply for an internship at NASA in the summer of 2010. He says the NASA Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Program (LARSS) is his first choice since he would eventually prefer to work in the field of aerospace science.

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