Brock Physics student reaches for the stars
BrockNews, Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Stuart Bell has boldly gone where no Brock co-op student has gone before - to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The third-year Physics student, whose hometown is Desboro near Owen Sound, Ont., recently completed two consecutive four-month co-op placements at the John H. Chapman Space Centre, the agency's headquarters in Longueuil, Que.

During his internship with the Space Medicine Group of the CSA, Bell's tasks involved projects related to space radiation and efforts to protect the astronauts working aboard the International Space Station (ISS) against the harmful effects of space radiation. Specifically, his tasks included preparing a research report for measuring non-ionizing radiation levels aboard the ISS; preparing a plan for collecting samples for biodosimetry evaluations; analyzing and summarizing information from scientific research articles on non-ionizing radiation; assisting with a ionizing radiation research project (Matroshka-R) being done in collaboration with the Russian Space Agency; and participating in national and international space radiation meetings that, besides Canadians, had participants from NASA, Russia, Japan, and Europe.

"This was the first time our office hired a student from Brock University," said Leena Tomi, Project Manager, Operational Space Medicine, CSA, and Bell's supervisor.

"We were very pleased with Stuart's performance. He performed all of his tasks extremely well, with skill, patience and dedication. I would not hesitate to hire another student from Brock."

Bell's CSA internship was a natural evolution from his boyhood fascination with airplanes, rockets, Apollo missions and space shuttles. His early reading on those subjects was placed on the back burner when the drive to do well academically became a priority.

"But when I heard there was a placement at the CSA, I became really excited. So I applied for the position out of the usual co-op workplace sequence and ended up working at the space agency for two terms of four months each."

Bell said that his first-year physics and optics classes provided a solid basis of information on the propagation of electromagnetic waves, the foundation of non-ionizing radiation.

His placement is another example of the broad diversity of co-op partnerships that Brock has established with agencies and businesses at local, national and international levels. Co-op Education at Brock has expanded from its flagship program in Accounting to 35 programs across all faculties at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The University now boasts one of the largest co-op programs in Ontario. This phenomenal growth was fuelled by an increased demand for experiential learning programs from students and employers, and by the University's goal to expand Co-op program offerings.

Professor Shyamal Bose, Chair, Department of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, said "we know Stuart as a talented sincere student and look forward to having him back at Brock," he said. "We are proud of his achievements." "With Stuart's apprenticeship and a recent appointment of one of our research associates, Dr. Sudhakar Gunuganti, to work on a contract for the CSA through a research and development company in Alberta, we hope this is the start of a long-standing association between the CSA and Brock University.

Kevin J. Grout, Communications Officer
Office of University Communications
905-688-5550, ext. 4690