REU Program

General Information

The Prairie View Solar Observatory (PVSO) is hosting a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

PVSO research areas are: solar observation and research, space science theory and modeling, plasma experiments, and an electric-spray experiment. The solar observatory is the only ground-based solar research facility in Texas and located on the campus of an HBCU. The observational instruments are a 35 cm Gregorian vacuum reflector equipped with an H-alpha filter. The space science division has worked on a wide area in the space science field including the magnetospheres of the Earth and the outer planets. A computer simulation code for the coupling of Earth ionosphere and magnetosphere in a realistic magnetic field has been developed by the PVSO group. More about the PVSO’s research projects can be found in the Research section.

PVSO’s REU aims to introduce undergraduate participants to a realistic and fulfilling research experience in solar physics, space plasma physics, and the near-Earth space environment by working directly with active professionals. Research experiences for undergraduates will focus on the study of the space environment represented by the Sun and its effects on Earth’s magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. Research projects encompass two main research areas: (1) the study of solar activity based on observations performed at PVSO and (2) data analysis and computer modeling to ascertain the response of Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere to solar activity.

Participants will have the opportunity for hands-on experience working with different solar telescopes, processing and analyzing data, computer programming, and computer simulation.  The students will also have opportunities to interact with their mentors, other undergraduate students in the program, graduate students, and other faculty members.  A part of their research experience will involve attending lectures and seminars given by the PVSO staff, participating in discussion groups, creating a report based on their work experience, and presenting their report to the students and staff.

Location

The campus of Prairie View A&M University, about 60 miles northwest of downtown Houston.

Duration and application deadline

The academic-year program consists of two semester programs coinciding with the academic Fall and Spring semesters. Each of the semester programs lasts 17 weeks. The deadline for receiving applications each semester is the last official day of class registration.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a degree program leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree, be in good academic standing, and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. Positions will be awarded on the basis of academic excellence, motivation, experience, scientific potential, and compatibility of interests and long-term career goals with current PVSO research interests. Students who have completed at least their freshman year in college are preferred, but exceptional freshman will also be considered. Computer programming skills are a plus.

Stipend

Students who participate in the academic-year program will be paid an hourly student wage for up to 20 hours per week.

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