PULLMAN, Wash. — Aubrey (DeWitt) EspaÃ±a, a Washington State University senior, has been named an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholar for 2003 by the College of Sciences. EspaÃ±a has earned a physics degree in the optics and electronics option and a minor in electrical engineering.
Her award-winning research, which focused on modeling the distribution of heavy metals in a galaxy to reveal its evolutionary pattern, was done in the laboratory of Guy Worthey, assistant professor of astronomy. In conducting her research, EspaÃ±a analyzed photographs of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and developed techniques to deal with inaccurate data. She presented a poster about her research at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle in January.
“This is the first time that the chemical composition of stars has been sampled throughout the volume of a whole galaxy,” said Worthey. “We expect to publish several articles based on her work.”
EspaÃ±a received the Transfer Scholarship from the Department of Physics when she transferred from Walla Walla Community College in the fall of 2000. The physics department has given her Claire May Band and book scholarships as well. She has been named to the President’s Honor Roll every semester since spring 2001.
Active in intramural softball, EspaÃ±a has also conducted planetarium shows, tutored physics students, assisted in the graduate physics lab and worked as a technical assistant on a project to develop new methods for locating breaks in power lines.
EspaÃ±a will spend this summer doing research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories before returning to WSU next fall to work on a graduate physics degree.
Aubrey (DeWitt) EspaÃ±a is a 1999 graduate of Walla Walla High School. She grew up on a farm managed by her parents, Jay and Deborah DeWitt, near Waitsburg.
Four Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholars are selected each year. The award recognizes both the scholars for their research achievements and their faculty mentors.