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Presentation of the University's Flag

IYA 2009 State of Idaho Student Ambassador

In 2008, Greg Swanson, a University of Idaho (UI) electrical engineering graduate student, was introduced to the NASA International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) by his major professor David Atkinson. After some hard work and dedication, Swanson has officially been selected as NASA IYA2009 Student Ambassador for the State of Idaho.

“My main mission is to excite the community about astronomy and NASA accomplishments,” explains Swanson. In March 2009, Swanson’s uncle, Steven Swanson a NASA astronaut and mission specialist on Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119, carried a University of Idaho flag into space. The media attention from this event helped Swanson with his mission.

Swanson worked on a number of projects during 2009 as the IYA Ambassador, including Steven Swanson’s flag return to the University of Idaho and statewide K-8 school presentations on the new NASA spacecraft, Orion. In addition to his IYA responsibilities, he presented his master’s defense, titled “Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) Electrical Impact Sensor,” on work he researched with NASA Ames. “So if all things go as planned, I will graduate this May,” says Swanson, which he did in May 2009 with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree.

“This summer, I plan on continuing my MMOD sensor work through an internship with NASA Ames, and hopefully after the summer I will be able to secure a full time position with NASA Ames,” concludes Swanson. Swanson will also be applying to Ph.D. programs with hopes of being able to start in the fall of 2010.

Congratulations, Greg, on being NASA’s IYA2009 Student Ambassador for the State of Idaho, and good luck in all your future endeavors.
In October 2009, Astronaut Steve Swanson visited the University to talk about the 28th mission to the International Space Station and present to President Nellis the University of Idaho flag he carried into space on board the shuttle Discovery in honor of his nephew Greg.

Photo: President Nellis accepts the flag from Steve Swanson, along with Greg Swanson and Idaho Space Grant Director, Aaron Thomas.