Astronomy Intern at The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Wins Prestigious Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award at National Conference


 Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) congratulates summer 2019 National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) intern Abby Mintz on winning a prestigious Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award at the winter American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Hawai’i that took place January 4-8, 2020.

At this 235th meeting of the AAS, Mintz presented her summer research in a poster entitled, “Probing the High-Redshift Circumgalactic Medium Through Quasar Absorption Line Tomography.” This research represents an important step in understanding how chemical elements are formed in stars and distributed out into the Universe through galaxies.  Mintz was mentored by the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s Maria Mitchell Observatory’s (MMO) Dr. Regina Jorgenson.  A record 355 students participated in the Chambliss Award competition and there were fifteen Chambliss Medal recipients.  “It was a pleasure to work with Abby this past summer and I could not be more delighted that all of her hard work was honored by the AAS in this incredible way.  I’m happy to report that Abby has been continuing her research with me and we are currently in the process of preparing a scientific publication summarizing her results,” Jorgenson said.

Mintz is currently a junior at Yale University where she is a double major in Astrophysics and Statistics and Data Science.  She will be participating in the Harvard Center for Astrophysics REU this summer and will be applying to graduate programs in the fall.

MMO interns have won Chambliss Awards for four of the past five years, a testament to quality of the MMA’s internship program.  Approximately 90% of MMO interns have gone on to astrophysics Ph.D. programs.

The MMA’s Maria Mitchell Observatory operates the NSF-REU program each summer and has done so for decades.  The program is funded by the National Science Foundation.  Six students are selected out of a pool of approximately 200 undergraduate student applicants from around the United States.  REU interns come to Nantucket for ten to twelve weeks during the summer to participate in astrophysics research projects.  While on Nantucket, the REU interns also participate in the outreach efforts of the Observatory – primarily by hosting Open Nights at the Loines Observatory twice weekly and by leading daytime tours of the Vestal Street Observatory, complete with solar telescopic observations of the Sun.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.