Sasha Moskaleva, who emigrated from Uzbekistan with her mother at age six, is a Physics major as well as an honors student. She will graduate in two years, having burnished her sterling academic resume to a bright hue with plenty of practical experience in her field of study.
Sasha worked for 18 months at the California Energy Commission where she helped redesign its web site and was privy to all manner of scientific projects. Last fall the budding scientist concentrated on specific research under the guidance of a physics professor.
Last summer saw Sasha spend 10 weeks in Geneva, Switzerland, working on the Supercollider. She was among 500 participants, including physicists and students selected from around the globe by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that hosts the annual program.
She was directly involved with the ATLAS experiment. ATLAS is a several-stories high, 7,000-ton particle detector situated within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Atlas is the world’s largest particle detector. Her team was responsible for replacing a portion of the detector that measures the range of particles from the LHC.
Sasha, who intends to pursue the specialty of astroparticle physics, was one of just five CSU students who participated in the summer program. She credits her mother, who is a biochemist, for cultivating a fascination with science and math. And she’s even more determined to pursue her specialty even though it means additional study before she earns her B.S. degree.
Sasha’s goal is to graduate from Sac State, after which she will pursue a doctorate in Physics and concentrate on research in this exciting field. She plans to return to the Supercollider next summer to increase her knowledge of particle physics.
Working on this project is a great learning experience, she says, because it enables her to interact with some of the more renowned international scientists. The discrete laboratory work is complemented by graduate-level lectures from specialists in particle physics that provides a global perspective.
What is the practical application of her field of study? Sasha says the Internet was developed in part to concentrate and consolidate the flow of information from scientists working on the supercollider during the 1980s.
She adds that particle physics has spurred a cancer treatment that looks very promising. “Most cancer treatments make use of radiation,” Sasha says, noting that “doctors have small accelerators in their offices, which accelerate electrons and other particles to very high speeds.” The particles irradiate the tumor in an effort to destroy it.
Sasha’s decision to prolong her studies demonstrates a passion for physics that transcends merely getting a college degree. Her drive and determination to become a research scientist underscores a commitment that could well extend the frontiers of cancer treatment.
Professor Roberto Pomo, who directs Sacramento State’s Honors Program, says Sasha epitomizes “what the program expects from its students: academic rigor, a clear analytical mind, outstanding writing skills and openness to learning.” This brilliant young woman has a bright future before her.
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