Alumni News

Lamat Fellow Rewa Clark Bush Receives Presentation Award at the 2021 SACNAS Conference

Rewa Clark Bush, a Lamat Summer 2021 Fellow and Cabrillo College student, was one of a select group of students recognized with an award for her research and presentation skills at the 2021 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM (NDiSTEM) Digital Conference. Rewa’s talk “Searching for Stars Disrupted by a Supermassive Black Hole That Lived to Tell the Tale,” discussed her research on stars whose orbits come close enough to a supermassive black hole to be severely impacted by the SMBH’s gravitational effects, yet not so close as to fall in. As she explained, during this close encounter–called a “tidal disruption event” (TDE)–extreme tidal forces exerted on the star cause it to lose mass and gain energy. A TDE may span mere hours; they are so transient that they are rarely observed in action. But Rewa wonders, what if we could locate the remnants of these events, the hundreds of thousands of stars in the Milky Way that may have survived a TDE and lived to tell the tale? What stories might they bring us from some of the most energetic encounters with extreme gravity? Rewa’s research studied the long-term evolution of TDE star remnants computationally, with the goal of determining strategies to find them observationally. Rewa described how she and her mentors used initial hydrodynamical models of TDE remnants that were then mapped into a stellar evolution code to examine the properties of these stars billions of years after the initial disruption event. She presented results plotting the evolutionary progression of TDE remnants as compared to undisturbed stars of the same mass and discussed distinct signatures that may help identify them.

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) recognized 98 graduate and undergraduate students for their research and presentation skills at 2021 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM (NDiSTEM) Digital Conference during a live-streamed ceremony presented by Huawei USA on Friday, October 29. Out of 870 total presenters, over 700 were first-time presenters and over 400 are first-generation college students.

“The Student Presentation Awards recognize the next generation of scientists and STEM leaders from historically excluded populations, while giving visibility to their research and home institutions. The awards also encourage students to continue pursuing the STEM fields,” said SACNAS President Dr. Pamela Padilla. “As a multidisciplinary scientific society, the opportunity to present research to a general scientific audience fosters the science communication skills needed to not only build public support for science, but also ensure that science is accessible to everyone.”

In all, nine Lamat summer 2021 fellows were selected to present posters at the 2021 SACNAS conference.


Lamat Fellow
Rewa Clark Bush, Undergraduate student at Cabrillo Community College and Lamat REU student at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Lamat Mentors
Samantha C. Wu, Doctoral student at California Institute of Technology
Ariadna Murguia-Berthier, Postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University
Rosa Wallace Everson, Doctoral student at University of California, Santa Cruz
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz