“Reach for the stars” is more than just a metaphor at UCF. A number of UCF researchers are leading the way in astronomy, astrophysics, and other space-related research. One of the most prominent among them is Dr Sen Shivamoggi in the Mathematics Department. Dr Shivamoggi mentors research projects on turbulence, magnetic fields, and stellar winds. In the process, he transforms individual lives while advancing our understanding of the universe.
Dr Shivamoggi appreciates the importance of research mentorship because his own work has benefited greatly from the generosity of his mentors. For instance, he was quick to credit a particular mentor’s influence on his groundbreaking new model for solar winds. Shivamoggi built on the work of Gene Parker, the late renowned solar physicist, after meeting him at a conference in Alpbach, Austria, eleven years ago. “Parker was so kind and he nourished me for 10 years,” Shivamoggi told American Scientist. “And then, over the past three to four years, I got an opportunity to take a crack at the famous problem he worked on.”
Dr. Shivamoggi now pays this kindness forward by taking new researchers under his wing. He seeks to identify undergraduate students with potential for excellent graduate research and engage them in research problems conducive to their academic skills and interest. Shivamoggi notes that “students who belong to Underrepresented Minority Groups especially benefit from engaging in research. This experience provides them with better preparation for future studies, and a much-needed confidence boost” in the often-labyrinthine world of academia. To that end, Shivamoggi has mentored students in the RAMP and McNair Scholars Programs here at UCF. Both of these programs target students from groups who are traditionally underrepresented in graduate programs to help prepare them for research. Shivamoggi’s students have achieved great success under his guidance. They have presented their research at UCF events and Shivamoggi has co-authored articles with some undergraduate researchers in peer-reviewed, premier research journals. It is noteworthy that all his undergraduate research students have gone to graduate school. Furthermore, some have proceeded to work for NASA, Epic Systems, and other companies where their research and mathematical skills are indispensable.
Dr Shivamoggi believes that mentoring undergraduate research projects does not merely benefit the students. He argues that he benefits, too, from working with talented young minds. He believes that there is an important “synergy between teaching and research”, one sharpening the other. “Working with bright undergraduate students is always refreshing, and I feel gratified that it is very rewarding for them.”
Inspired to find your own mentor and discover the heights to which research can take you? Find more information about getting started in undergraduate research or see the list of classes that Dr Shivamoggi is currently teaching.