Senior Frank Wroblewski is a geology senior interested in planetary science, with specific interests in surface processes.
He was the first Northland College student selected last summer for an international NASA Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Internship at the Lunar Planetary Institute where he researched the geologic processes on the surface of Venus and the development and application of novel remote sensing techniques to study the planet.
Wroblewski’s internship was so successful, the Venus Exploration Analysis Group, a NASA-sponsored working group, asked him to present at their meeting at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland this past fall. Attended by the top Venus scientists in the US, this group helps prioritize and direct future research on Venus.
To get to the conference, Wroblewski needed financial help—$880.16—for travel, hotel, meals, and a poster. And it was for this reason, donors established the endowed Robert Rue Parsonage Fund for Student Opportunities in 2003, to support student-initiated leadership projects.
In the last fifteen years, Northland has awarded more than $600,000 to nearly a thousand students, including Frank Wroblewski.
At the conference, Wroblewski presented his chemical analysis on the radar properties of two Venusian mountains.
Wroblewski received accolades for his work, brainstormed new ideas, learned new methods to try, and connected with two more coauthors for his research paper to be published in 2019. His findings will be included in a NASA headquarters report and his areas of research will be considered as regions of interest for future remote sensing missions, and he has been asked to present at another conference this spring.
Wroblewski was able to meet potential advisors for graduate school and write his abstracts and presentations for his resume and graduate school applications.
“By attending the conference, I’ve since been inducted into the professional scientific world head first via grant writing, managing ideas between my coauthors, and continuing research alongside my course load,” he said. “I’m gaining knowledge of scientific work that would otherwise be unavailable to an undergraduate.”