Geophysical Sciences student selected for Illinois Space Grant Consortium fellowship

January 25, 2023

Alya Al-Kibbi
Alya Al-Kibbi

Alya Al-Kibbi, a first-year graduate student in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, has been awarded a graduate fellowship from The Illinois Space Grant Consortium (ISGC). The award supports outstanding graduate students pursuing aerospace, astrophysics, astronomy, cosmology, Earth system science and other interdisciplinary space-related science, engineering, or mathematics fields.

Al-Kibbi was born in Washington, DC, and raised between there and Lebanon. She attended Caltech for undergraduate. As a planetary science student, she plans to research the role that comets play in the formation of planets in the solar system, and how comets can influence the current day compositions of these planets.

She will receive $10,000 towards research that contributes to furthering NASA’s science goals. “I intend to use the award to fund travel to conferences and expand my scientific perspective, and hopefully to help with the cost of publication of my research down the line,” she said.

According to Alya’s advisor, Prof. Fred Ciesla from the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, this is a unique and well-deserved opportunity. “I am very happy for Alya; she is very deserving!” he said. “This gives her a bit of extra flexibility to explore the field as she narrows down the focus of her research. To get this opportunity right at the start of graduate school is fantastic.”

For Al-Kibbi, this fellowship represents a first and strong step towards the development of her scientific career: “I was so excited to have been selected. As a first-year graduate student, I had very little confidence in my application compared to more experienced scientists. I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity to jump start my scientific career.”

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