The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Student Inspired to Reach for the Stars

December 17, 2018

What student Brittany Myers intended as a brief question and answer meeting with The Ohio State University at Newark Associate Professor Michael Stamatikos, Ph.D. has turned into a mentorship she never expected. Since stopping in during his office hours two years ago, Myers has been and continues to be guided by Stamatikos through research, planetarium training and an internship at the SciDome.

Myers isn’t your typical student. After graduating from Newark High School in 2006, she decided to wait on college. She became a wife and mother first. When she decided the time was right, an interest in astronomy that had been fueled by television programming on the Discovery channel and the PBS show NOVA made her realize that pursuing a degree that would allow her to do research on the stars would lead her to a fulfilling career.

Ohio State Newark was her first choice because she wanted to stay local and knew it would be easier financially on her family. Myers also knew that the small class sizes and individual help would be beneficial to her as she has juggled life and an education.

In March 2017, Myers was awarded second place at the Ohio State Newark Student Research Forum for her proposed research “Investigating Precursor and Prompt Emission of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GABs).” She continues her research on GABs, but has added a new topic thanks to her internship at the SciDome.

In June 2017, she received the Spitz Institute Student Scholarship to be trained to assist with SciDome operations. Myers attended a three-day training at the Spitz Institute that taught her how to create and present the eye-catching, informative simulations that the SciDome makes possible. She has been interning with Stamatikos at the SciDome to assist with both operations and new research to prove the astronomical significance of the Hopewell Earthworks that are currently under consideration to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“The most interesting thing has been learning the extensive capabilities of the SciDome,” she said. “We can use it for things as simple as a planetarium show and as complicated as deep space scientific research. It is so great to have it here in Newark.”

A collaboration between Ohio State Newark and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology resulted in the SciDome planetarium. Built on The Works’ campus, 55 S. 1st Street in downtown Newark, the 2,200 square foot facility houses a 30-foot tilted dome with 4K digital projection and NanoSeam™ technology with theater-style seating for 60 guests.

“I would like to follow in Dr. Stamatikos’ footsteps. He’s so passionate about teaching, the Newark community and astronomy,” said Myers. “Working with him has been unbelievable; it has opened up so many possibilities. I would also like to continue to work at the SciDome and do outreach teaching.”

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.