The USU Research Foundation’s education efforts reflect its deep commitment to enhance the educational experience for engineering and science students. Efforts include an SDL-USU Technical Lecture series, supporting employees who offer courses as adjunct lecturers, and funding USU student scholarships, senior projects, and academic competitions.

In addition, the Research Foundation provides hands-on-experience for hundreds of students through employment and the student employee scholars program.

SDL/USU Technical Lectures

The Space Dynamics Laboratory collaborates with Utah State University to provide an ongoing lecture series. It offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to hear the latest in space science engineering and technologies on-location at SDL and USU facilities.

The following is a sampling of previous lectures:

  • An Introduction to Atomic Timing and Navigation: Atoms offer the highest degree of precision in the areas of timekeeping and inertial navigation by Dr. Nahanl Lemke, Research Physicist, Dr. Gretchen Phelps, Research Physicist, and Dr. James Stickney, Research Physicist
  • Surveying the Solar System with NEOWISE by Dr. Pedro Sevilla, Electrical Engineer
  • Enabling Smart Space Systems Through Astrodynamics by Dr. Kohei Fujimoto, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer
  • Principles of Modular Open Architecture for Enabling Future Capabilities by Dr. Jacob Christensen, Software Engineer
  • Characterization of the NASA OSIRIS-REx OCAMS Detector Assemblies: A discussion on detector assembly characterization and performance by Dr. Jed J. Hancock, Optical Scientist
  • A New Imaging Era for Upper Atmospheric Research: Development of an advanced mesospheric temperature mapper by Dr. Michael J. Taylor, Physicist

Adjunct Lecturers

Many Research Foundation and SDL employees offer university courses as adjunct lecturers. The following list highlights employee adjunct lecturers and a sampling of courses taught.

Bryan Bingham
MAE/ECE 6930 – Spacecraft Attitude Control

Jacob Christensen
CS 1400 – Introduction to Programming
CS 1410 – Introduction to Object Oriented Software Development
CS 2420 – Data Structures and Algorithms
CS 3450 – Software Engineering
CS 3810 – Computer Organization and Architecture
CS 5060 – Intensive Programming
CS 6890 – Special Topics: Open Source Software Development

Jed Hancock
Physics/ECE, PHYS 6680 – Optics 2 Diffraction and Interferometry
Physics/ECE, PHYS 5500 – Radiometry and Detectors

Bryan Hansen
CS 1400 – Intro to Computer Science
CS 3450 – Software Engineering
CS 4700 – Programming Languages

Alicia Hatch
CS 371: Human-Computer Interaction (BYU-Idaho)

Scott Hinton
BENG 5500/6500 – Systems Biology Modeling

Brandon Holdaway
CS 2420 – Algorithms and Data Structures
CS 1410 – Introduction to Computer Science
CS 3100 – Operating Systems and Concurrency

Seth Humphries
CS 3810 – Computer Systems Organization and Architecture

Kenneth Sundberg
CS 1400 - Introduction to Computer Science I
CS 1410 - Introduction to Computer Science II
CS 3100 - Operating Systems and Concurrency
CS 3450 - Software Engineering
CS 5400 - Graphics I

Nathanael Weidler    
ECE 5760/6760 – Hardware and Embedded Systems Security

Bryan Willis
CS 3810 – Computer Systems Organization and Architecture

Space Dynamics Laboratory Student Scholarship

SDL/USU Research Foundation awards a one-year scholarship on an annual basis to two under-represented students (women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, etc.) who are “rising engineers and scientists,” with an emphasis on women in engineering.

All recipients must demonstrate strong academic achievement, excellence in the quality of their work assignments and performance, and have a financial need.

For more information about this scholarship, contact Scott Bates, VP Graduate studies, at or call (435) 797-2975.

Senior Project Support/Academic Competitions

Senior Design Projects

Senior Design Projects immerse senior engineering and science students in the hands-on process of solving real-world challenges.

These projects are the capstone event for undergraduate studies and are supported by the Research Foundation in three ways:

  1. The Foundation funds a significant annual contribution for senior project hardware, which enables a wider range of projects to match student interest.
  2. SDL engineers propose projects that are relevant to customer needs and mentor students as they develop and design real solutions for current challenges.
  3. Almost one fifth of all SDL/Research Foundation employees are part time students, many of whom are seniors. These students are often able to produce higher quality results as they integrate their work experience into their projects and teams.

Academic Competitions

Academic Competitions fuel and sustain student interest in engineering and science. The competitions provide experiences that are ideal preparation for entering the workforce as students work on interdisciplinary teams and demonstrate engineering skills through direct application. The Research Foundation values these programs and provides both funding and mentors to support university teams.