USD, SDSGC recipients of NASA grant to aid DUSEL research

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota, through the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium (SDSGC), has been selected as a recipient of a Consortium Development Competition award from NASA.

The University of South Dakota will receive a one-year grant of $126,175 through this award, which totals $194,742, to help fund the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) exploration of the Earth’s interior. Other state institutions to receive Consortium Development Competition award funding are Dakota State University, Oglala Lakota College, Black Hills State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. SDSGC is located at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and includes institutional members and educational affiliates from institutions across the state.

Dongming Mei, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at USD, is the principal investigator and lead technical director of this project, which is to foster increased involvement of NASA in DUSEL research through establishment of a “NASA-DUSEL Research Center for Probing the Earth’s Interior.”

The focus of this one-year project is a 10-week summer research experience at DUSEL and six collaborating institutions within the consortium for 15 undergraduate students. Students selected for research will be mentored by faculty members from six SDSGC affiliates, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. Additionally, the research project will be open to undergraduates from all SDSGC affiliates, with targeted recruiting of women and minorities, requiring a series of lectures to upon completion of the research activities and training. A follow-up outcome to the one-year project will be a proposal to the National Science Foundation to establish a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site project at DUSEL that will sustain the research and training impact for additional years.

A photograph of Mei is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Dongming_Mei.jpg.