One of several Harker students undertaking internships over the summer, Namrata Anand, Gr. 12, spent hers studying astronomy at UC Santa Cruz.
“I have always been interested in physics and engineering, but never truly realized the immense scale that physics extends to: the universe!” Anand said of her reasons to arrange the internship. “As a kid, I always wanted to be an astronaut, so when I noticed that Harker was offering an astrophysics internship, I leapt at the chance to virtually explore our sister galaxy, Andromeda.”
Anand, who was joined at UC Santa Cruz by fellow seniors Andrew Zhou and Kevin Zhang, studied the chemical makeup of the galaxy Andromeda. UCSC researchers, professors and students “have collected data over the past several years and I was given access to this data for my project,” Anand said. “I looked mainly at chemical spectra to detect the changing amounts of chemicals in stars and the appearance of different chemicals in various Andromeda star populations.”
The environment at UCSC was one of Anand’s favorite parts of the internship. “My professor and the college students were helpful, fun and encouraging. I was not expecting my internship experience to be so casual,” said Anand, who noted that much of what she learned was a result of the casual conversations she had with her mentors and fellow Harker students.
“This internship has not only piqued my interest in astrophysics but has given me a glimpse into what college will be like next year!” she said.