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Explore JPL - Seminar #5

Monday, November 10, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Noyes 153 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)

This lunch-time program is designed to help undergrads learn more about the research happening at the Jet Propulsion Lab and connect them with possible SURF mentors for next summer.

Focus:  Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Aerospace Engineering, Nanotechnology
A boxed lunch will be provided
Please RSVP at:


Colleen Marrese-Reading: Dr. Marrese-Reading is a Senior Engineer in the Electric Propulsion Group.  She is the Principal Investigator of the Microfludic Electrospray Propulsion (MEP) project.  This micro fabricated and extremely compact propulsion technology is under development using indium propellant for primary propulsion for small satellites including cubsats and for precision pointing exoplanet observatories. She has been working at JPL on electric propulsion systems since 1994, first as student, and then as a full-time employee in 1999.  She has a Ph.D from the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering.

Farisa Morales: Dr. Morales begin her education at L.A. Mission Community College, where she majored in Mathematics. The summer she transferred to UCLA, she participated in Caltech's SURF internship program at JPL. While working at JPL as an academic part-timer, Morales graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from UCLA, and with a Master's degree in Physics from CSUN. Her work on planetary debris disks at JPL with the Spitzer Space Telescope, evolved into her PhD dissertation project, and attained her PhD in Physics from USC. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory, Morales currently studies stars with planetary debris disks—the dusty ring-like structures, home to colliding asteroids and sublimating comets, that circle stars like the Sun, and hint at planet formation processes, their architecture and composition. Morales also searches for the planetary companions stirring the dust around nearby stars. She uses the powerful 10-meter Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the 5-meter Hale Telescope at Palomar Mountain in California. These telescopes have been adapted with optics that enable us to mask the star's intense radiation and see the faint infrared light from the orbiting planets.

Shouleh Nikzad: Dr. Nikzad is a Senior Research, a Principal Member of the Staff, and technical supervisor for the Advanced Detector Arrays, Systems, and Nanoscience Group. Dr. Nikzad holds visiting appointments at Caltech's Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division and at Cedar Sinai Medical Center's Neurosurgery Department. Dr. Nikzad's research interests span a wide range including materials, detectors, and applications in planetary sciences, astrophysics, space weather, and medicine. One of Dr. Nikzad's passions is extending the application of space technology into medicine. Her work on single photon counting UV detectors has produced world record sensitivity that enables future NASA missions in mapping of the intergalactic medium, primitive bodies studies, and Europa atmosphere. Along with her team, she received the 2014 NASA Honor Award – Group Achievement Award. She is a recipient of several other awards including the Lew Allen Award of Excellence, Space Act Awards, SBMT Pioneer in Medicine Award (technology and leadership. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a Senior Member of the IEEE, and is serving as the 2014-2015 president of the SBMT. Dr. Nikzad holds a PhD in APh and an MS in EE from Caltech.

For more information, please phone 626-395-2885 or email

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