Kelly Deranek, Saint Mary’s senior, presented a proposal asking for funding for Dance Marathon. The event is in its fifth year at the College and raises money for the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. One of the final things SGA has done for the students of Saint Mary’s College is to help fund one of the bigger events on campus — Dance Marathon. Chesley and Smith were shadowing the current president and vice president in preparation for their terms in office. They will continue to observe until they are sworn in to office and, after elections for the other offices this week, the new class officers will also be attending the SGA meetings. “The event’s goal is to celebrate the hard work Dance Marathon has done all year to raise money for the hospital,” Deranek said. “It promotes awareness of the hospital but the Marathon night is all about fun.” In preparation for their upcoming term as leaders of Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) beginning April 1, juniors Rachael Chesley and Laura Smith attended Wednesday’s meeting. Chesley and Smith were voted in as SGA president and vice president, respectively, for the 2010-11 academic year during the election Feb. 26. Dance marathon will be held in Angela Athletic Facility from 8 p.m. March 26 to 8 a.m. March 27. The event is for Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross students. Deranek said they are expecting around 550 people, which is the largest attendance the event has ever had. The marathon is 12 hours of dancing with live entertainment and a DJ. It also includes food, games, last minute donations and a counting of how much money was raised. Hoffman also said she and the current SGA vice president and junior, Megan Griffin, were attempting to initiate a Saint Mary’ s heritage course. The course would be one credit and would teach students about the origins and founding values of the College. “The year is coming to a close very quickly and our term in office is almost over,” current SGA president and senior Jenny Hoffman said. “It’s time to think of what final things you would like to accomplish for the student body.” The board members for the event have already begun fundraising, but because all the money has been donated to the hospital, they still needed funding for the event, Deranek said. SGA has started to prepare for the end of the 2009-10 term and will meet only three more times before the newly elected officers are sworn in on April 1. Some of the suggestions made by the SGA members included vending machines in the Student Center and new vacuums in the dorms.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recognized 11 United States military veterans for their contributions to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in Washington D.C., on Nov. 5. United States Army veteran and Notre Dame physics graduate student Luis Morales and 10 others were honored with NSF-funded Graduate Research Fellowships.“The ceremony in Washington was a Veteran’s Day event,” Morales said. “The NSF has never done anything like this before. They honored the veterans while also showing how they had contributed to—and made the transition from—the military to the STEM fields.”Morales said his trip to D.C. included a tour of the NSF headquarters and a poster session to present and discuss his personal research. The NSF expressed interest in helping veterans overcome any obstacles that may prevent them from pursuing a civilian career in STEM, Morales said.“Throughout the day, we [talked] about the relationship between veterans and the sciences,” he said. “We’re not traditional students. Many of us start schooling with families. It can be a struggle to manage this financially and time wise.”Morales said that he and the other NSF Fellows honored in D.C. were asked what could be done for veterans to help with the transition from the military to undergraduate or graduate education.“I wasn’t in a science field when I was in the military,” Morales said. “I just had this drive to do it. I followed my heart. I took all the opportunities that were given to me.”According to a press release from the College of Science, “the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program provides three years of support for the graduate education of students who have demonstrated the potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research.”After more than five years of service in the Army, Morales moved to Elkhart, Indiana to pursue an undergraduate degree in physics and applied mathematics at Indiana University – South Bend in 2011. There, Morales collaborated with a group in the Nuclear Science Lab at Notre Dame to design a new detection system for the St. GEORGE Recoil Separator (Strong Gradient Electro-magnet Online Recoil separator for capture Gamma ray Experiments).“During my time as an undergrad, I spent about three summers on the St. GEORGE,” Morales said. “We ended up simulating and designing a new detection system, constructing this system and testing it to make sure it worked properly.”Morales said the coming stages of his research will work with the St. GEORGE accelerator to test chemical reactions and elements in stars.“We want to study the sun,” Morales said. “This system will help us study particular reactions in the sun. Right now, I’m working on putting all of the different parts of the system together and making sure they work right.”Morales said the financial support the NSF offers helps veterans integrate in civilian life on many levels.“The event in Washington was a pleasant experience overall,” Morales said. “It made me happy to see the NSF trying to reach out to veterans and relate to our struggles. It made me feel like they were genuinely interested in helping future veterans with interests in science pursue them.”Tags: National Science Foundation, NSF, Physics, St. GEORGE Recoil Separator, STEM, Veterans Day read more