Photograph of four students against a black textured background, lined up next to each other and cropped at the waist. All students are wearing black RM Engineering polos.

Congratulations to our Aerospace Engineering students for being selected as a national winner in the 2022-23 NASA TechRise Student Challenge, a nationwide contest designed to engage students in technology, science, and space exploration.

Teams were asked to design an experiment that could be conducted aboard a high-altitude balloon, and their ideas were judged by a team of engineering professionals. These Mountain Lions will meet weekly with a virtual mentor to fully design and build their experiment using a $1,500 budget provided by NASA TechRise. At the end of the semester, they will be shipping their experiment for its trip to low-altitude space for analysis!

From left to right:

  • Jonathan Coon - Junior
  • Tayah Day - Junior
  • Kearan Gibbs - Sophomore
  • Zephyr Proffitt - Junior

Project Title
Alternative Ultraviolet Effects from Non-Ozone-Depleting Pollutants

Student Summary of Research Project:
The main focus of the experiment is on radiation levels in the atmosphere (both ultraviolet and ionizing), and what pollutant has the greatest effect on it. In our experiment we will be measuring levels of ultraviolet radiation, ionizing radiation, and pollutants like methane, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds, correlating the data we collect to determine what relationships are present between specific pollutants and radiation levels in order to understand what sources of emissions need to be better regulated and balanced out. With this data we aim to better understand how air pollution affects radiation in not only our personal state environment, but also the southwestern region of the United States, as our neighboring states experience very similar environmental problems as us. We are thrilled to be bringing our idea to life this early on in our scientific careers.