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Keegan McCoy Receives USRA Education Award

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Keegan McCoy Receives USRA Education Award

Pictured left to right: John Nousek, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and director of the Swift Satellite Mission Operations Center; Keegan McCoy; and Larry Ramsey, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and Keegan's research supervisor.

17 October 2011

Keegan McCoy, a Schreyer Honors College student in the Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) Program, through which he will earn a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, a B.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering in May 2012, was recently awarded the USRA Education Award.  The USRA Scholarship Program provides college scholarships to students who have shown a career interest in the physical sciences or engineering with an emphasis on space research or space science education.

Keegan's thesis research with Larry Ramsey, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, focuses on characterizing near-infrared properties of optical fibers used in M dwarf exoplanet detection.  Keegan's work experience includes two NASA internships:  Summer 2009 at the Goddard Space Flight Center and Spring 2010 at the Kennedy Space Center.  At Goddard, Keegan developed an optical test plan for the guidance system of the James Webb Space Telescope, while at KSC he tested the command and control effects of latency and jitter on NASA's Constellation Program electrical ground support equipment network.

At Penn State, Keegan has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Astronomy Club President and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Chapter Chairman.  One of his most enjoyable activities is Astronomy Department outreach, having presented over 100 planetarium and Mars 3D shows to visiting elementary school students and the general public.  Keegan is currently in the active duty Air Force through the Technical Degree Sponsorship Program (TDSP) and will report to Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB in Alabama after graduation from Penn State.  As a developmental engineering officer, Keegan hopes to serve in Air Force Space Command, developing new space systems technologies and providing space situational awareness for his fellow servicemen and women around the globe.

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