A Life’s Dream Realized – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A Life’s Dream Realized

William Smith sophomore to work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, this summer

April 10, 2003 GENEVA, N.Y.—For as long as she can remember, Caterina “Cathy” Caiazza has dreamt of working as a researcher for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA). So naturally, when Leah Joseph, Caiazza’s geoscience professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, mentioned that she had done an internship at NASA, Caiazza peppered her with questions about how to gain the inside track at the agency.

With Joseph’s guidance, Caiazza, a sophomore from Rochester, has since applied and been accepted into the competitive summer intern program through The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). The LPI provides, on NASA’s behalf, leadership in the scientific community for research into lunar, planetary and solar system sciences, as well as linkage with related terrestrial programs.

As a summer intern, Caiazza will work one-on-one with scientist Kevin Righter of the Johnson Space Center, examining lava from Mexico and comparing it to rocks from the moon. The project, titled “Sulfide stability in planetary basalts,” aims to determine if there is a correlation between the two materials. They hope to discover whether some of the processes that occurred on Earth, such as volcanic eruptions, have happened on the moon at any time in history.

Last summer Caiazza, a dual major in geoscience and chemistry, presented research on Seneca Lake at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. Her involvement on campus includes participating in Koshare (the student dance organization), serving as a mentor and Orientation leader, and participating in the Colleges’ summer science research program. She is a member of the chemistry club and has traveled to Virginia for the alternative spring break program at Pocahontas State Park.

Caiazza is the recipient of the Richard Abbe ’92 and Michael Gantcher ’92 Scholarship for academic achievement. She is the daughter of Vincenzo and Mirta Caiazza of Rochester and a 2001 graduate of Greece Athena High School.