GSO student one of nine at URI to be awarded prestigious NASA R.I. Space Grant

Grants promote research by graduate, undergraduate students

May 18, 2023

Nine students at the University of Rhode Island are the recipients of NASA R.I. Space Grants for this summer and/or next fall, including URI GSO’s Katie Roche. The research grants are awarded by the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium.

Miguel Alessandro Lopez, Aubrey Laity, Julie Maurer, Katie Roche and Michelle Stage were awarded Graduate Student Fellowships, while undergraduates Samantha Adams, Oliver Carey, Charles McInerney and Sophia Motta received research scholarships from the program.

Roche of Syracuse, New York, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in biological oceanography in the Graduate School of Oceanography, will research diatoms’ physiological responses to nutrient limitation in the North Atlantic and carbon export pathways. Diatoms, a type of phytoplankton, are critical to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, eventually sequestering carbon dioxide in the deep ocean as the phytoplankton die or sink, Roche said. Her work is part of a NASA-led field campaign and multi-institutional collaboration, Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS), which aims to better understand carbon export from the upper ocean.

Operating at Brown University since 1991, R.I. Space Grant encourages undergraduate and graduate students to explore NASA-related science research and engineering as careers, uses space-related science as a means of enhancing scientific literacy among educators and their students, and provides seed grants for NASA-related research.