Gina Pantano (she/her/hers)
University of Tampa
NASA Goddard Space Center Intern
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
My name is Gina Pantano, and I am a graduating senior at the University of Tampa (UT) receiving my B.S. in Physics and Mathematics. I plan on attending the University of South Florida this upcoming fall to pursue a PhD in Applied Physics, and eventually, a career in either space or technology industry. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UT helped solidify my passion for physics by providing me with opportunities to further my love for the subject in and outside of the classroom. I have had the unique privilege of playing an active role in the development of our physics program from co-founding our SPS chapter to helping the department move from the dingy basement of Plant Hall (the dungeon we used to call it) into the brand new Graduate Health Science building. I first got introduced to research my junior year when I met Dr. Morgan McAnally giving a talk on her dissertation research to the mathematics department. We had several meetings discussing her research on integrable systems and the inverse scattering transform, which led to us being accepted into the 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at UT to study the nonlinear Schrodinger equation. After completing my internship, I started working with my first mentor Dr. Ethan Deneault on an observational astronomy project. My group and I are performing a photometric analysis of the RR Lyrae stars OP Pup and AO Lep, and I will be presenting our findings at the end of the semester. Dr. Deneault ignited my interests in computational physics and provided me with the opportunity to gain experience with programming as the Computational Physics TA for our department. I am thrilled to continue expanding my knowledge working on a computational project this summer as the NASA Goddard Research Intern (pinching myself). Joseph and I will be working on the Experiment for Cryogenic Large-aperture Intensity Mapping (EXCLAIM), which is a balloon mission that will make three-dimensional maps of the universe to tell us how stars form and galaxies evolve across cosmic time. We can do this by using a cutting-edge “spectrometer on a chip” coupled to a cryogenic telescope to measure redshifted line emission from star-forming gas. I am excited to live out my dream as a NASA intern and share my experience with all of you!