Prize Recipient

Maciel, Tamela

Tamela Maciel


There has never been a time when I haven't been passionately intrigued by how the universe works. It always amazed me that the same laws that governed the motion of a leaf as it fell to the ground might also apply to the motions of stars and galaxies millions of light years away. I have long been anxious to study physics for precisely this reason: so that I might better be able to make those connections between our familiar world and the extremely remote world of space.

I grew up in Grants Pass, Oregon and graduated valedictorian a year early from Grants Pass High School. Currently, I am a rising sophomore at the University of Oregon where I study physics, astronomy, and chemistry. I volunteer at a local planetarium and give hour-long presentations to the public. I am also co-president of the UO Society of Physics Students and help to plan talks, discussions, lab tours, and field trips for the group. Finally, I am employed in the undergraduate physics labs at UO where I maintain the labs and equipment for student use. Outside of school, I love to sail, hike, run, bike, practice my violin, and of course, star gaze! This summer, I was part of the 2007 Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) program where I spent ten weeks at the Goddard Space Flight Center researching active galactic nuclei. In a few years, I plan to attend graduate school and earn my PhD in astrophysics.