Later this month, Christopher Christopherson, of Green Bay, will be the first University of Wisconsin Oshkosh student since 2004 to present at the prestigious Posters on the Hill event in Washington D.C.
The nationally recognized event allows students to present research and demonstrate to lawmakers on Capitol Hill the importance of undergraduate research at universities across the nation.
Out of 500 applicants, Christopherson was one of 60 selected. With a 10-15 percent acceptance rate, he said the honor is “pretty neat.”
“It feels pretty good,” Christopherson said. “I didn’t realize it had been that long.”
Christopherson worked with UWO astronomy and physics professor Nadejda Kaltcheva on Observing Nebulosities: the Cygnus Bubble. He developed a high-tech camera used for astronomy.
“The observations we’re doing is we’re taking pictures in three different wavelengths of light,” Christopherson said. “They represent three different cases where light is emitted from a star formation.”
The honor student also presented Observing Nebulosities at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in 2014.
He started the research in fall 2013 with Kaltcheva. Christopherson has since had five to six students help him with the research, some of whom are presenting projects at NCUR 2015 and Posters on the Rotunda in Madison this spring. Christopherson also is presenting at NCUR this year.
In 2013, Christopherson received an Undergraduate Small Grant, now administered by the Oshkosh Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Program. In addition, he received a student-faculty collaborative grant from the College of Letters and Science. He also received Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium funding for continuing research this coming summer. He plans to continue his research for another two years.
Kaltcheva said she encouraged Christopherson to take his talents for photography, astronomy and teamwork to the next level.
“In the sciences and in astronomy in particular, teamwork is important,” Kaltcheva said. “Chris is all about teamwork. In addition to the wide-field observations, this project has other important aspects connected to the stellar content of the field in which the team members are now involved.”
Christopherson said he is excited to present his results since they demonstrate how his hard work has paid off.
Posters on the Hill takes place April 22-23.
“I did Posters on the Rotunda last year, and that was fun, and now it’s just taking it to the next level,” Christopherson said.
He said if he could get national funding, he would try to take his project to the next step. But for now, he will focus on determining what he will study when he heads to graduate school.