Graduate student receives highly competitive NASA fellowship

Jared Termini landed a fellowship that is giving him a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with scientists and engineers at NASA centers all over the country.
Friday, November 4, 2022

By Emily Delgado  

Second-year University of Iowa Physics and Astronomy doctorate student Jared Termini is living out his dream—he's working closely with NASA scientists and engineers all over the country.  

Jared Termini working in a lab for NASA.
Jared Termini working in a lab for NASA. 

Termini landed a highly competitive, national graduate fellowship that allows him to work on new technology projects in the realm of astronomy, space physics, planetary science, and more. Specifically, he’s evaluating the performance of cutting-edge UV gratings for NASA’s next generation of space telescopes. He is in the prep phase of his project, which is focused on simulation work, but is moving towards measuring and evaluating prototypes. 

As part of this fellowship, he is visiting NASA centers across the U.S., like Goodard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. All while working one-on-one with scientists that have inspired him and his career goals.  

“My dream has always been to work for NASA. I’ve always wanted to do astrophysics research, but I’ve never really had an interest in going into academia. So, NASA seemed perfect,” Termini says. 

Termini received his undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the UI. He says his undergraduate professor Casey DeRoo helped him discover his passion for instrumentation.  Jared Termini

“In undergrad, I knew I wanted to do something in astronomy, but I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. Professor DeRoo introduced me to instrumentation, and I immediately knew that I wanted to continue my career in astronomical instrumentation,” Termini explains. 

Termini said his graduate Professor Keri Hoadley has been a vital support system and that she encouraged him to apply for the NASA Fellowship. He recommends every student try to build relationships with the faculty in their areas of study.  

“Don’t be intimidated by talking with professors or asking if you can work with them and their research group. Even if a professor does not have a position available, they can still recommend other professors who do similar research and may know if other professors are looking for students,” Termini explains. 

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.