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The student poster competition associated with the 15th annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium attracted students from across the world. Thais Arslanbekov of Madison was a first-place winner. CONTRIBUTED

Arslanbekov of Madison merits first place in von Braun Symposium

MADISON – Attracting students around the world, the poster competition involving collegiate-level study attracted a first-place winner from Madison in the 15th annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville hosted the event on Oct. 26-28.

“This is the fourth year that the von Braun symposium’s poster competition was open to academic research by students from any university,” Dave Cook said. Cook is director of undergraduate research at UAH.

As a result of the opening, 96 students applied, not only from UAH but also from across the country and internationally. “We were really excited to have this opportunity for our undergraduate and graduate students to go head-to-head with students from other universities,” Cook said.

“UAH students captured two of the finalist spots. All the participants did an excellent job representing their respective universities,” Cook said.

One of those finalists was UAH student Thais Arslanbekov of Madison who entered the Physical and Liberal Sciences Undergraduate Division. Arslanbekov graduated from Bob Jones High School.

Arslanbekov earned first place for research concerning “Electrical and thermochemical analysis of polyvinyl alcohol and hydroxylammonium nitrate combustion mechanism.”

To show the highly technical level of this contest, in the same division as Arslanbekov, the second-place entry was Carol Mitchell of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University -Daytona Beach. Mitchell’s topic was “Assessment of Dose-dependent Endocrine and Immune Responses to Simulated Ionizing Radiation.”

Other poster subjects included aerospace industry, space life sciences, astrophysics, optics, economics, business, sustainability, history, international relations and STEM initiatives.

“You could really feel the energy and enthusiasm in the room,” Cook said.

“Students . . . explained their research to a team of judges made up of American Astronautical Society members,” Cook said. “Additionally, we . . . successfully utilized a new judging app created by UAH computer science undergraduate and graduate alumnus Nick West, bringing the poster session into the electronic era.”

American Astronautical Society is offering one poster finalist to present research at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan on Oct. 2-6, 2023.

“We thank the AAS for making UAH the home of this opportunity. I also thank the UAH faculty and research staff who encourage students to participate in events like this,” Cook said.

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