By: Sara Hoover
“To infinity and beyond,” Buzz Lightyear’s mantra, is not just a dream, but a reality,
and one that is being carried out with the help of a U of M professor.
Dr. Firouzeh Sabri
Dr. Firouzeh Sabri, assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts & Sciences,
has been invited to present at the International Space University’s summer space studies
program in Strasbourg, France, from June 28 to Aug. 27.
Sabri, who gained international recognition for creating a coating for calibration
targets used onboard NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, will be presenting a workshop on
The summer program is open to 125 students who are one year or less away from completing
their undergraduate degree. The nine-week program is a unique opportunity for participants
to experience a broad range of space-related fields.
Sabri is encouraging U of M and other local students to apply, and hopes to use the
connection to the summer program as a recruiting tool for the U of M.
“We’ve just been approved for material concentration in the Department of Physics
at the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Sabri. “Students who participate in
these summer programs are perfect (candidates for our department) because they’re
strong students and fluent in English. It’ll be nice to get international exposure
(for the department).”
“You get a combination of the 125 best students across the world coming with varied
backgrounds, varied expectations. The faculty are from the European Space Agency and
NASA, including former NASA astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman and Dr. Michael Rycroft,
general secretary of the European Geophysical Society. You get many different aspects
of space studies covered in a very intense program that you normally wouldn’t even
if you were doing a master’s or PhD program. You get a flavor of engineering, science,
business, finance and law, all related to space exploration. It’s a combination of
all these experiences brought together.”
She hopes this exposure will help expand career tracks beyond the traditional ones.
“If the student has the drive to explore, this is a good opportunity for them to do
With Sabri’s role as a presenter, she also wants to establish the U of M as a steady
participant in the International Space University. A goal is to eventually host the
summer program in Memphis.
The cost of the program is $20,000 and scholarships are available, though financial
aid deadlines have passed. The application deadline for those who do not need financial
aid is April 30. Honors students are strongly encouraged to apply. All students interested
in applying should first contact Sabri.
Sabri was accepted twice to the program as an undergraduate. She was able to secure
aid both times. “There are scholarships and they’re very competitive, but if you’re
strong you can get them,” she said.
“If you have an interest in space studies as a general approach, this would be good
To learn more, contact Sabri at 678-2126 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.isunet.edu.