San Antonio. TX
College:College of Sciences
Degree Program:Physics PhD, Planetary Sciences Track
Research Focus:Using telescopes to study asteroids and their composition in space
After receiving her undergraduate degree in Massachusetts, Anicia Arredondo was looking for a drastic change of scenery. Impressed by the department and warm weather, she chose to pursue her Physics PhD, Planetary Sciences degree at UCF. “I love how connected to the space industry that the planetary department is. We have access to people at Florida Space Institute, Arecibo Observatory, Kennedy Space Center, and more,” she says.
While at UCF, Arredondo can be seen passionately working on her research which involves using telescopes to study asteroids and characterize their composition in space. She studies asteroids because they are the building blocks of our solar system. Since they are what was leftover when the planets formed, they can tell us about what the solar system looked like at its birth. “Space is so big and there’s so much we don’t know but understanding the formation will unlock a huge amount of clues about other topics in astronomy,” she says. Specifically, Arredondo studies near-Earth asteroids because it is the most directly applicable to the everyday person. These are asteroids that are close enough to the asteroid belt that they could escape and come toward Earth.
With this research, Arredondo won third place in the 2020 UCF 3MT Competition. Here, doctoral students communicate their research in three short minutes to non-expert judges while competing to win scholarship awards. On placing in the competition, she says, “It means a lot to me because I (like a lot of other people) struggle with imposter syndrome and feeling like I’m not working hard enough. This award validates my efforts and fuels me to finish my PhD.”
After graduation, Arredondo hopes to receive a postdoctoral research position at NASA.
- Third place in 2020 UCF 3MT Competition
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