PhD student Cecilia Fasano wins three-year NASA research grant

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Cecilia Fasano, University of Iow
Cecilia Fasano

Cecilia Fasano, a PhD student in the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy, has earned a three-year, $135,000 NASA fellowship.

Fasano, with the guidance of Professors Casey DeRoo and Keri Hoadley, earned the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) fellowship from NASA's Astrophysics Division. DeRoo is the principal investigator and Hoadley is co-investigator on the grant providing the funding.

The award will enable Fasano to advance her research into making and assessing UV/X-ray diffraction gratings, which will be used in future NASA missions. Her NASA-funded work will form the basis of her PhD dissertation.

Fasano earned her bachelor's of science in physics from the University of Notre Dame, with honors and concentrations in advanced physics and astrophysics. She joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy, working in the DeRoo Research Group, in 2020.

The University of Iowa has played a substantial role in the development of space science research, ranging from the late Professor James Van Allen's early Rockoon experiments, and his1958 discovery of Earth's radiation belts with Explorer 1, through present-day spacecraft such as Voyager, MAVEN, the Van Allen Probes, and TRACERS.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.