EAPS Graduate Student Awarded Multiple Fellowships - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University

EAPS Graduate Student Awarded Multiple Fellowships


Writer(s): Logan Judy

Marie McBride, an EAPS PhD student studying planetary science, has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and the Amelia Earhart Fellowship.

The highly competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students.  The Amelia Earhart Fellowship, granted by Zonta International, is given to assist the future of women in aerospace and aerospace-related sciences.  Both fellowships provide funding for supplies, and the NSF fellowship also provides a stipend. 

“Winning both of these awards is a huge achievement, and secures my funding for the next three years,” she said.

McBride, who is advised by Dr. Briony Horgan, studies explosive volcanic deposits on the Moon using orbital spectroscopic detections of glass. The lunar pyroclastic deposits McBride studies are high priority targets for future missions to the Moon. To compliment her lunar research, she travels to study volcanic deposits on the surface of the Earth. She has completed NASA’s Planetary volcanology workshop in Hawaii, a volcanology field camp in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and will be participating in a volcanology field school in Kamchatka, Russia in August.

As an undergraduate at the Florida Institute of Technology, McBride participated in two internships at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), where she researched the restoration of data from Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package instruments deployed by Apollo astronauts.  She then completed a third internship at NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team for landing and Mars time surface operations of the Curiosity Rover. Before coming to Purdue, McBride was employed at Malin Space Science Systems as a member of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera team on the Curiosity Rover.

Currently, McBride is heavily involved with educational outreach in K-12 classrooms, and plans to start a science education non-profit organization, just one of her ambitious career goals.

“My ideal life scenario is that with my lunar science research, I would be chosen as the first woman to walk on the Moon,” she said. “I would embrace the opportunity to be this role model and to inspire others to realize that hard work can make dreams come true. While walking on the Moon would be an amazing feat, realistically, I know many factors may make my dream impossible. If I cannot visit another planetary body myself, I hope to continue to be a part of or lead teams to send cameras or other instruments on NASA planetary or human exploration missions.”

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