UO student presents rocket science research in D.C.

Manju Bangalore

UO sophomore Manju Bangalore has just earned one of the highest national academic achievements an undergraduate student can receive.

Bangalore is one of 60 U.S. students selected from more than 300 competitive applications to present their research at the 20th annual Posters on the Hill event in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.

During the event, Bangalore will meet with members of Congress, congressional staff and federal government officials to emphasize the importance and impact of conducting research as an undergraduate student.

“I feel honored to be accepted to present,” Bangalore said. “I am really excited to meet some of our nation’s leaders to talk about science literacy, research and how important both are.”

Bangalore, a double major in mathematics and physics, will be presenting her research on the economics of in-space propulsion done in 2015 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

At the flight center, Bangalore worked with John Dankanich, the project manager for the center’s technology development division. Together they examined the processes used in determining the optimal propulsion method for space travel. 

Dankanich and Bangalore developed a tool that can be used to complete cost optimization studies that account for variables such as propulsion method, efficiency, launch costs and power levels. The results of their research will be used to guide subsequent space transportation architecture assessments.

Hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research, Posters on the Hill serves as an opportunity for legislators and federal officials to see the value of research in higher education, and more specifically the impact it can have on a student’s experience and level of achievement. In doing so, the hope is that federal funding for research will continue to have strong support from elected officials. 

“This event is about creating an environment where politicians and undergraduate students can meet to discuss the future of research and undergraduate education in the United States,” Bangalore said. “It is vital that their impression is positive so that funding for research continues to be a priority.”

Bangalore’s internship at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center was supported by the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. She is currently conducting research at the UO in  physics professor Eric Corwin’s lab through her position in the Presidential Undergraduate Research Scholars program. This summer she hopes to secure an internship in the areas of science literacy and policy.