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My name is Micaela Casas and I am from Houston, Texas. This past semester, I completed my freshman year at Rice University in Houston. Next year, I plan to declare a physics major. My first year has reinforced my decision to pursue a career in physics.
Through the Century Scholars program at Rice, I had the opportunity to learn about different areas of university-level research. I chose to work with Bonner Nuclear Laboratory with Dr. Padley. Bonner is participating in the worldwide ATLAS project. During the school year, I learned about Rices involvement in the collaboration. After being accepted for a summer 2005 internship, I have been helping with GUI and database development. Throughout this participation, I have had to learn the basics of different computer languages and systems, such as SQL and Java.
My interest in physics began during high school. As a high school junior, I learned about NASA SHARP. I was accepted and assigned to two mentors, Dr. Alkesh Punjabi and Dr. Halima Ali. Under this program, I did research at the Center for Fusion Research and Training at Hampton University. I learned about tokamaks and controlled fusion. At the APS: Department of Plasma Physics conference in October 2003, I did a poster presentation and had my abstract published. Not only did this teach me a great deal about physics, but it also reinforced my love of science overall.
With the help of APS, I feel that my desire to become a physicist will be achieved.