Underrepresented Astrophysicists Awarded Black Hole Physics Internships
Mentor(s): Alexander Raymond and Garrett K. Keating
Internship start and end date: June 1 – Aug. 6
Marvin Jones is a mathematician by training who dreams of being an astronaut one day.
Jones previously interned at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center where he assisted with nuclear fusion propulsion concepts for future deep space explorations.
Jones applied to the scholars program to expand his scientific toolbox. "I saw this as an opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research, experience science outside of my home institution, and soak up all the knowledge I can from the extraordinary EHT team," he says.
Originally from Newport News, Virginia, Jones enjoys reading, grilling and cooking, travel and visiting museums. He is also interested in making science more equitable. Jones is a member of his physics department’s diversity committee and enjoys sharing the story of Dorothy Vaughn, a former black NASA scientist who helped put humans on the moon. Jones grew up in the same neighborhood Vaughn once lived in.
"We literally walked the grounds where a black woman helped change the space program forever," Jones says. "It reminds me why representation is about more than imagery, but really telling those stories of all who contributed to advancing scientific work."
Jones holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from the North Carolina A&T State University and a physics degree from Indiana University, where he is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in astrophysics.
Mentor(s): Razieh Emami Meibody
Internship start and end date: July 11 – Sept. 28
Originally from Chicago, Brandon Curd holds a bachelor's degree in astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma and is currently a fifth-year doctoral student in astrophysics at Harvard University.
Curd completed two previous internships in astronomy at Cornell University and Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he studied Saturn's rings and triple star systems, respectively.
Curd is fascinated by black holes and their accretion disks—the disk-like flow of material that slowly spirals inward toward a black hole's core. He is interested in applying computer simulations to his research this summer, including tidal disruption events, when a star is torn apart by a black hole.
In his free time, Curd enjoys playing basketball, cooking, art and music. He also is a huge fan of the Waffle House, which he believes should be named a UNICEF World Heritage Site.
Curd is a former recipient of the prestigious Astronaut Scholars Awards, which recognizes the best and brightest undergraduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He also is a recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which is granted to those who show exceptional promise of becoming a future leader in STEM.
After earning his PhD in 2022, Curd hopes to obtain a postdoctoral fellowship to continue studying black holes.