Through their work in the MUSE program, two TCNJ engineering students were awarded the prestigious 2017 New Jersey Space Grant Summer Research Fellowship. Throughout the entire state of New Jersey, only fourteen applicants received the honor. This fellowship allows students to work on space related research projects over the summer by providing a $4500 stipend. One recipient of the grant is rising junior Samantha Moorzitz.
Guided by Dr. Manuel Figueroa, Moorzitz’s summer project was to develop a middle school lesson plan based on her research in hydrophobicity. In her description of the project, Moorzitz states that, “one of NASA’s major education goals is to attract and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines”. As an ambitious future STEM educator, this project allowed Moorzitz a unique opportunity. Moorzitz states that her research “focused on understanding the mechanical properties of adhesives on hydrophobic surfaces in order to help in the design of effective coatings. The objective was to reduce adhesion by altering surface tension and study the structure using TCNJ’s scanning electron microscope”. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Moorzitz’s project is its ability to make the complex topic of hydrophobicity comprehensible for middle school students. The potential that Moorzitz has exhibited to engage younger STEM students in high level thinking will make her a valuable asset to any classroom. She states, “In the future I plan to strive in developing lessons that will inspire and motivate students to learn more about STEM and possibly aid them in their decision to pursue a STEM career. I hope that by teaching and encouraging young minds I can direct students to explore and take creative risks- molding their minds for what they will become, leaders of tomorrow.”
To learn more about the NJ Space Grant Fellowship please click here