Testimony and Comments from Previous Years Students
Kevin Carlson, MIT 2020 Class, A semi-finalist in Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, 2015 As a rising senior in high school, I was lucky enough to work in Dr. Ge’s astronomy lab. Through my research, I gained invaluable experience in astronomy instrumentation, scientific writing and communication that I continue to use to this day. My project consisted of programming an adaptive optics system for the University of Florida automatic telescope. My research taught me how to interface software with hardware and apply physics to solve real-world problems. Additionally, I was able to develop my communication skills by effectively communicating obstacles and solutions to other lab members. All aspects of my work in Dr. Ge’s lab gave me the tools to be successful in an intensive college environment. I submitted my research paper to the Siemens Competition and received recognition for my work which helped to build my resume for college applications. Additionally, I developed the ability to effectively communication complex ideas which helped with college admission interviews and essays. The academic material I studied under Dr. Ge’s supervision has resurfaced since beginning my undergraduate degree at MIT, and I can attribute this early exposure to advanced material as an influential tor to my ability to learn quickly and succeed at a high-level institution.
Khaya Klanot, Yale 2020 class, A semi-finalist in Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, 2015 I spent the summer after my junior year of high school working on astronomical instrumentation in the lab of Dr. Ge. When I first started I knew very little about the research process, but by the end of the summer I was sure that I wanted to pursue it in college and beyond. Every day was full of unique challenges and I was always learning and having fun. My lab experience shaped my decision to study astrophysics in college and gave me so many useful skills from collecting data to writing scientific papers. It made me feel much better prepared for my college classes and opened the door to further research opportunities. I am so grateful for my time spent at UF, which was one of the most memorable experiences I've had!
Ruijia (Rebecca) Dai, Yale 2021 class, A semi-finalist in Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, 2016 During this past summer, I was fortunate to be on Dr. Ge’s team at the University of Florida to help develop tools to facilitate the search for life on exoplanets. The area of our research was optical fiber characterization. In order to reach the ultimate research goal of finding the optimal fiber to implement as a part of the instrumentation on the telescope, I utilized my prior knowledge and acquired new knowledge as well in a variety of different fields: materials science, astronomy, physics, mathematics, and even some chemistry. This process forced me to become an innovative thinker and problem solver. Over the two-month period, I became familiar with standard lab procedures and had the most authentic taste of what it was like to work on a cutting-edge research project. The lab report writing skills I acquired, the friends and mentors I met, and the memories I made have become a significant part of me that continues to motivate me in my scientific pursuit in the future. Mr. Nikhil Krishnan (Caltech 2018 class) During the summer of 2013, I had the fortune of being able to participate in the University of Florida's Student Science Training Program (SSTP), allowing high schoolers to research in the labs of professors at the University of Florida and take seminar classes as well. This experience was both a learning and enriching experience for me, as I had taken many math and physics courses in high school but had no ability to do any kinds of hands on work or see the tangible benefits of the concepts I was learning. Having been strongly interested in astrophysics and optics at the time, I was delighted to learn that I would have the opportunity to work with Professor Jian Ge on EXPERT-III, a next-generation high resolution spectrograph utilized in exoplanet surveys. I learned a lot about Doppler Spectroscopy, figuring out how to detect extrasolar planets by measuring the Doppler shift in the star whose system the planet belongs to. I was even able to participate in the construction of this device by designing a light throughput efficient component for the spectrograph, allowing me to gain experience using CAD in tandem with my knowledge about geometry and physics. Working with Professor Ge was one of the most rewarding experiences I had during my high school years, and as a current student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the experience has left me far more prepared for the scientific education I continue to recieve at my university. The combination of high-level science and hands-on work that Dr. Ge's lab has allowed me to strive at Caltech, and I would thoroughly recommend the experience to anybody.