NACtober Showcases Research, Accomplishments of National Astronomy Consortium Participants


Kicking off this week, and running throughout the month of October, the annual conference of the National Astronomy Consortium (NAC)—NACtober—will highlight the hard work, research, and accomplishments of the 2021 NAC cohort.

NAC is a unique, competitive program offering summer astronomy research internships and professional development programming and research opportunities throughout NAC alumnis’ academic careers.

The annual conference is designed to bring together the current year’s cohort to share their research with each other, their mentors and alums, meet with influential professionals in the field of astronomy, and both build and strengthen peer, mentor, and professional relationships.

The NACtober conference is planned entirely by alums of the program, with the goal of creating a new, dynamic virtual experience for alums, speakers, and invited guests. “NACtober typically takes place at the end of the summer for the current year’s cohort,” said Alia Wofford, a NAC alum and the co-chair of this year’s conference organizing committee. “Our goal with the new virtual format was to ensure a continuation of the inclusive environment we have in person, and we’re confident that this year’s conference will give everyone the opportunity to shine, connect, and build support for both now and the future. That’s always been the spirit of NAC, and we’re excited to be able to continue that in a virtual format.”

One of the highlights of the conference is its focus on student research, giving every cohort member the opportunity to share their work alongside professional astronomers and scientists.

“NAC’s inclusive environment has given us the opportunity to build connections and relationships with people from different backgrounds and cultures, which is something I really value in my life and career,” said Camilo Vazquez, a 2021 NAC participant from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. “One of the things that consistently motivates me to do research in astrophysics is that I can be a part of communities and organizations such as NAC and work with people who are just as passionate about this field as me.”

This year’s student presenters include:

  • Camilo Vazquez, Stevens Institute of Technology, presenting on “Multi-frequency imaging of kpc-scale jets in obscured radio powerful quasars”
  • Jaq Hernandez, Texas Christian University
  • Mitchell Hernandez, ­­Colby College, presenting on “Studying AGN in the millimeter and gamma wavelengths”
  • Miguel Montalvo, University of California-Berkeley, presenting on “ALMA Band 7 imaging and analysis of the luminous infrared galaxy ESO 203-IG001”
  • Fahim Jenneto, Delaware State University
  • Savannah Woods, University of Memphis, presenting on, “The Star Forming Properties of UM 461”
  • Autumn Winch, Bryn Mawr College, presenting on “Measuring magnetic fields from turbulence anisotropy of molecular clouds”
  • Kiana Whitefield, University of California-Irvine, presenting on “Studying the morphology of tadpole galaxies”
  • Khalid Mohamed, Amherst College, presenting on “Searching for single-transit events in TESS light curves with machine learning”
  • Carlos Ortiz-Quintana, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, presenting on “Principal component analysis (PCA) as a tool for characterizing polarized simulated images of black holes”

NACtober runs from October 7 to October 28.

Media Contact:

Amy C. Oliver
Public Information & News Manager, NRAO-HQ
+1 434 242 9584

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