Meet Alex NieMiera, a UNT physics major and the communications officer of UNT's chapter of Society of Physics Students. Alex's studies are in computational physics, and she has been working remotely on a Theoretical Nuclear Physics project at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) located in Virginia, through an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
"My research aims to develop a numerical framework to analyze jet substructures at the future Electron-Ion Collider (EIC). The application of jet substructures at the EIC for studies concerning the internal structure of hadrons and the process of hadronization is a current area of interest that remains open to exploration," she said.
Alex said the most rewarding aspect of her research has been the freedom to explore such a vast topic that interests her and to see the steady and slow progress that accumulates over time. While conducting research remotely has its challenges, she said her advisors Dr. Nobuo Sato and Dr. Felix Ringer were both very supportive throughout the learning process.
"I presented my research in a student poster session at Jefferson Lab at the end of my REU," she said. "Additionally, I have just had the opportunity to present my research at UNT's Research Day and applied to present at the upcoming TX APS conference."
After earning her bachelor's degree, Alex plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Physics. She is looking forward to determining where and with whom the next phase of her educational career will be spent.
"Having undergraduate research experience is very beneficial in solidifying my research interests and illustrating my dedication to this path," she said.
Her advice to other students who are interested in pursuing research is to ask lots of questions and try new things. "The most important thing I've learned during my time at UNT is that progress is not always easy and linear," she said, "Dedication, consistency, and a strong support system of peers and mentors will take you farther than you may think!"
The Society of Physics Students recently co-hosted a public event for the annular eclipse on October 14, and the group looks forward to helping host events for the upcoming total solar eclipse in April.