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Sky-high: Broncos receive NASA fellowships

Ally Almaraz and Cyrus Koroni

It’s incredible how much space exploration research begins at Boise State. In keeping with a long tradition, two Broncos brought home prestigious NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium fellowships in 2022.

The fellowships provide funding for students to conduct research, attend conferences and participate in other STEM-related activities related to NASA’s mission – developing new technologies and advancing scientific knowledge.

Doctoral student Cyrus Koroni from Inglewood, California, and undergraduate Ally Almaraz from Caldwell, Idaho, study in the College of Engineering’s Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, but are tackling different areas of space exploration with their research.

Since the 1958 launch of Explorer, the first U.S. satellite, NASA has used batteries in all of its robotic spacecraft expeditions. Koroni’s lithium battery research is intended to answer the demand for better and longer lasting batteries.

“I am so honored to have been chosen for such a fellowship,” Koroni said. “You always hear about all the cool things that NASA has accomplished, so to be recognized by them is an amazing opportunity.”

While Koroni’s research is meant to safely and efficiently power space exploration, Almaraz’s material research delves into the biological and physiological effects of space travel on astronauts.

Many astronauts experience bone and muscle degeneration while in space. Almaraz is working to determine how different treatments, such as pharmaceutical or exercise simulation treatments, might increase the time that astronauts can safely be in outer space.

“I love the endless stream of possibilities,” Almaraz said. “When I’m in the research lab, I get to see things from a perspective that nobody sees.”

In the past 20 years, 27 Boise State students have received NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium fellowships totaling $564,000.