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Student researcher wins award at National Diversity in STEM Conference

Flores with his award. (Photo courtesy SACNAS)Wilson Flores, an undergraduate researcher at The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, recently received a Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Student Research Presentation Award at the National Diversity in STEM Conference in Long Beach, California. More than 900 undergraduate researchers from around the country presented their work at the conference.


Flores, a junior aerospace engineering major with a minor in aviation, won the award for his research on application of linear LED lighting for airport taxiway centerline turnoffs, a project supported by The Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS), a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence for General Aviation. Flores analyzed how pilots and ground vehicle operators react to the use of linear LED lights at The Ohio State University Airport to assess benefits to spatial orientation during nighttime operations.


“I had gained some excellent experience in presenting our research at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum on campus last year, and now that the research was completed, I was able to comfortably provide a complete analysis of our research in Long Beach,” Flores said. “I was truly honored to receive this award.”


While at the conference, Flores also attended several sessions on careers in academia, which has motivated him to pursue a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering upon graduating from Ohio State.  A Los Angeles native, he said Stanford and Cal Tech are his top choices.


“We’re extremely proud of Wilson”, said Center for Aviation Studies Research Coordinator Shawn Pruchnicki. “His success is what we strive for. Engaging with our undergraduates on funded research allows them to promote themselves through these conference opportunities.  The fact that Wilson was proactive in doing so, particularly at a conference that focuses on diversity in STEM education and research, makes his award all the more special.”


Founded in 1973 by a group of minority scientists, SACNAS is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of chicano/hispanic and native american scientists, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.