Walter King is pursuing a minor in geophysics while completing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. Currently, he is working on the VERNE project, a NASA sponsored mission concept to penetrate the icy surface of Europa and search for biosignatures in the ocean beneath. He works under Dr. Britney Schmidt and is responsible for the design of a tether spooling mechanism and contributes to the science and sample handling team as well. In the spring of 2021, Walter plans to conduct research under Dr. Schmidt exploring seismic sensing for ice penetrator vehicles during the final semester of his undergraduate study. Outside of Georgia Tech, Walter is a participant in the NASA Pathways Program at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. At MSFC, he has worked on thermal protection systems for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage, flight hardware integration for the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout mission, a feasibility study for the Europa Lander mission, and lunar sample return mission planning. Walter grew up in Elkins, a small town situated in the hills of West Virginia. He enjoys playing the fiddle and the guitar, backpacking and rock climbing, as well as tinkering with things in his spare time.
Maci Harrell is a fourth year EAS student with a focus in planetary geology planning to graduate in Fall 2021. She has worked with Dr. James Wray on data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). This past summer, she interned at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum analyzing Transverse Aeolian Ridges, a type of equatorial sand dune on Mars. Outside of academics, she loves solo-traveling (she has visited 21 countries so far!), figure skating, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and taking care of her pet ball python.
Holt Thomas is a former EAS major who graduated in August 2020. He worked with Dr. Takamitsu Ito on the CIMP6 project in which he restructured and displayed ocean data. He also worked as a teaching assistant for CS1315 for several semesters, two of which he was the head TA. After graduation, he plans to return to academia to pursue a Master’s Degree in Data Science. Throughout college he has also been working as a professional balloon artist, entertaining countless children as well as adults. In his free time, Holt enjoys cooking, the outdoors, video games, and drinking brown liquids from Kentucky.
Laurel Freeman is a third year EAS Major with a concentration in Meteorology. Her academic interests include severe thunderstorm development and short to medium range forecasting. Aside from academics, she is on Georgia Tech’s nationally ranked WxChallenge team, a member of the Association for Environmental Engineers and Scientists, a participant in intramural softball, and involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking, cooking, baking, journaling, playing cajon, weather photography, and cheering on Georgia Tech and Atlanta sports teams. She hopes to work for the National Weather Service after college and improve severe weather warning systems.
Jackson Sims is a fourth year EAS major with a focus in meteorology planning to graduate in the Spring. He grew up on a farm in Palmetto, GA working with his granddad, which fostered his interest in meteorology as the weather always played a role in what they would be doing each day. He was an MSE major for his first three semesters at Tech until he heard about and switched into EAS. He has been involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus. His research interests are centered around how synoptic and mesoscale weather phenomena and large-scale atmospheric circulations impact the agricultural industry, as well as their associated resource availability and social issues. He will get to dive into those research interests this Fall with Dr. Christ and is planning to pursue a practical internship with the National Weather Service in the Spring. He is very grateful to God, his family and friends, and his professors who have helped him get to where he is today.
Manlin Xu is a second year EAS major with academic interests in environmental science, specifically climate science and oceanography. She conducts research with Dr. Jennifer Glass and PhD candidate Abigail Johnson on microbial protein interactions with gas hydrates as part of the NASA Exobiology program. She is involved in the vertically integrated team conducting research on the Kendeda Building. Her team focuses on sustainable building materials production and processing. They are interested in experimenting with wood acetylation and processing measures to minimize the emission and maximize the dimensional stability of the wood used for living buildings. She looks forward to going to France next spring for Tech’s International Plan, meeting new people and embarking on new adventures. She is a member of Wreck, Tech’s women’s ultimate frisbee team. She also tutors for Georgia Tech’s Athletic Association. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out and exploring Atlanta with her friends, as well as trying new foods.
Mckenzie Lane is a 4th year EAS major with academic interests in geology and geophysics. She conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Ken Ferrier on factors affecting chemical depletion and weathering rates of soils. She completed an internship with NASA’s SUPPR program studying chaotic tumbling and spin evolution in Mars’s moons Phobos and Deimos in summer 2019. Her work resulted in a second authorship on her first published paper in the journal Icarus. She attended the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting in December 2019 to present this work. Last spring, she had an incredible time on the Pacific Program studying abroad in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Her extracurriculars include GT’s Earth sciences Honor Society, Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE), Greek Life on campus as a member of Phi Mu, and Tech’s cheerleading team for her first two years. In her free time she enjoys playing video games, collecting rocks and crystals, playing with her cats, and discovering new places to eat.