Reaching New Heights in a NASA Internship

Reaching New Heights in a NASA Internship

Maya Levishon ’23 spent her summer time researching methane concentrations and dealing with superior atmospheric expertise whereas within the ambiance with NASA’s SARP program at 40,000 ft.

picture/Maya Levison ’23

After accumulating the samples, Maya Levison ’23 analyzed her findings inside the laboratory at NASA.

by Kennedy Ryan3 October 2022

Maya Levishon ’23 spent her summer time researching methane concentrations and dealing with superior atmospheric expertise whereas within the ambiance with NASA’s SARP program at 40,000 ft.

Most individuals instantly consider launching rockets into outer area after they consider the Nationwide Aeronautics and House Administration. Nevertheless, NASA is equally targeted on researching Earth, its local weather, and your complete Photo voltaic System.

The Pupil Airborne Analysis Program (SARP) is a type of applications that focuses on finding out the Earth. This prestigious summer time internship, provided to a restricted variety of college students from throughout the nation, focuses on environmental influence research starting from ocean biology to air high quality, whereas offering sensible analysis expertise to college students.

Levison carried out his analysis from a NASA plane, utilizing pressurized canisters to gather air samples at numerous altitudes to investigate the focus of methane emissions contributed by dairy farms all through Southern California.

Levison spoke with Brandeis Now about his utilized arithmetic and environmental research at Brandeis, plans for the long run, and highlights from his summer time within the sky.

NASA's SARP Program

picture/Maya Levison ’23

Maya Levison carried out analysis with SARP at 40,000 ft above sea degree.

What impressed you to use for this internship at NASA?

My pal’s sister had shared the applying with me. After researching this system, I used to be instantly struck by the thought of ​​collaborating in sensible environmental experiments whereas studying numerous analysis methods and boarding a NASA airplane.

As an aspiring environmental engineer, SARP was the right option to broaden the scope of my analysis expertise, contribute to significant scientific improvement, meet different local weather scientists and college students, and problem myself with new experiences.

Have been there any Brandeis programs or professors that ready you for this expertise?

Many individuals who wish to turn into engineers go on to engineering-focused graduate applications. I knew I wished to go to Brandeis, so coming in I discovered that utilized math and laptop science gave me related abilities, even when it wasn’t technically engineering. I figured this system experiences would put together me for graduate college as properly. Having a pc science background actually got here in helpful when studying new coding methods and syntax this summer time.

I additionally felt my expertise inside the environmental research program, notably in Professor Sally Warner’s local weather science course, ready me for the deeper questions we have been exploring. Whereas conducting my analysis, I constructed on the understanding of varied local weather phenomena, such because the carbon cycle, radiative forcing and atmospheric mixing, that we realized about in climatology.

To isolate methane emissions, I needed to bear in mind many alternative variables that might have an effect on greenhouse fuel concentrations, so background data of Earth techniques was necessary.

in the air with maya

picture/Maya Levison ’23

Levison used an air canister system to gather samples on board the plane.

What was it love to do analysis in a airplane 40,000 ft above sea degree?

My analysis venture primarily based in Southern California regarded on the seasonal variation of methane emissions and adjustments of their focus within the ambiance. We have been trying on the quantity of methane emitted by dairy farms and the way it modified seasonally.

The plane had 4 teams of scholars specializing in completely different subjects of analysis. The altitude of the plane ranged from as little as 500 ft to as excessive as 40,000. Samples have been collected utilizing pressurized air canisters each 30 seconds to 5 minutes, relying on the place we have been positioned. The group took the samples again to the lab to investigate methane concentrations utilizing fuel chromatography and flame ionization detection.

I used to be uncovered to varied instruments and expertise for the primary time, which was an incredible expertise.

My work targeted on atmospheric analysis, however I had the chance to take part in engineering-related duties that I might do within the discipline, corresponding to putting in, tearing down and getting ready the canisters used all through the analysis course of. This system was additionally targeted on the atmosphere, which actually opened a variety of doorways for me.

I had thought of pursuing careers in numerous fields corresponding to engineering, local weather modelling, airborne science and information science, however this expertise actually gave me a extra full understanding of the abilities wanted to thrive in these roles. I discovered myself interested in the assorted potentialities and paths that my profession might take.

Maya Presentation

picture/Maya Levison ’23

Levison presents his findings from his summer time analysis.

What have been a few of your analysis findings?

My program mentor, Donald Blake – a chemistry professor on the College of California, Irvine – has spent an excessive amount of time finding out methane emissions within the discipline. He was actually excited in regards to the outcomes we gathered throughout our analysis.

At the beginning of the venture, we had a idea that emissions produced from dairy farms various relying on the season. We realized that the variation in methane will not be the cows, however the swimming pools of waste from the stalls the place the cows stay. It’s because the manufacturing of methane depends on temperature. In consequence, there are extra emissions in summer time and fewer in winter. Methane is a particularly potent greenhouse fuel, much more so than carbon dioxide, so it is necessary for researchers to know the place it is coming from.

How will this apply and influence the remainder of your Brandeis expertise?

The brand new applied sciences and sources I found throughout my internship will probably be useful in creating my senior thesis and upcoming laptop science programs.

I additionally assume that working independently this summer time has given me an opportunity to enhance my time administration abilities and skill to work by myself, kind out the validity of the info, and are available to my very own conclusions.

Are you aware about your plans after commencement?

It is exhausting…I’ve so many concepts! I might see myself working in information science or environmental engineering. I might even see myself working for NASA once more, as a result of I actually loved my expertise. I do know I undoubtedly wish to work in an trade that offers with local weather science. I’m trying ahead to gaining a couple of years of working expertise earlier than going to graduate college for my Masters in Engineering.

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