Friday, June 29, 2018

TAURUS Scholar Spotlight: Steve Anusie

Steve Anusie, Howard University, TAURUS Scholar, Summer 2018

The first TAURUS Scholar Spotlight of the year focuses on Steve Anusie, a rising senior at Howard University majoring in Electrical Engineering.  Steve has strong interests in astrophysics as well, and is using his summer experience in TAURUS to explore possible astronomy-related careers.  His research mentor, Dr. Cynthia Froning, writes about his path to-date.

Steve Anusie is an electrical engineering major at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Steve has just completed his first year (as a junior) at Howard after transferring from Morgan University in Baltimore, MD. The youngest of six sons and a Baltimore native, Steve traces his interest in astronomy to a single moment when, while delivering pizzas, he saw a bright light in the sky and almost swerved off the road trying to look at it. This was followed by a night of online investigation during which he identified the object as Venus and then was consumed with investigating other planets and the stars. Steve has always been interested in science and nature. What draws him in particular to astronomy is its scope: the excitement of knowing that we will never be done studying and trying to understand the universe. 

When asked about previous mentors or inspirations, Steve mentioned his Astrophysics teacher at Howard, Dr. Alfred, who introduced Steve to his research work and collaborations at Goddard Space Flight Center. Steve particularly appreciates Dr. Alfred’s approachability, his kindness, and how he demonstrates the pursuit of a well-rounded life. Steve majored in EE at the urging of his mother and is now glad that he has taken this path, because he enjoys the intellectual challenges and the opportunity to pursue hands-on application of his STEM skills. He considers mastering mathematics and C++ as his greatest challenges to date, but appreciates how they are teaching him to be persistent in learning new information. Of his achievements, he is most proud of being accepted into the TAURUS program, as well as how his career are gelling after his transfer to Howard.

Steve's goals for the TAURUS program include learning about how research is done and what it would be like to pursue a graduate program in astronomy. He is also interested in instrumentation and the possibility of applying his engineering skills to astronomical work. His plans for this summer are to gather the experience necessary to set his targets for the remainder of his undergraduate career. He appreciates that his engineering major and astronomy interests give him the ability to pursue a broad range of professional options and plans to use the TAURUS program to decide where to direct his focus going ahead. 

This summer, Steve is working with Dr. Cynthia Froning. He will be constructing light curves of flares in cool stars with the goal of identifying tracers of stellar activity and understand how flares affect the habitability of exoplanets around low-mass stars. Steve is also talking to different instrument builders in the Department and McDonald Observatory, touring labs and facilities, and learning about astronomical instrumentation careers as part of his summer research experience.

Spotlight shared by Prof. Caitlin Casey, director of the TAURUS program.

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