Department of Astronomy

The Seyfert Prize Fellowship for Undergraduate Research

Physics and astronomy undergraduates who are currently sophomores or juniors are invited to apply for the Seyfert Prize Fellowship in the Department of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University.

The Fellowship will support one student each summer to come to Cleveland and work on cutting-edge astronomical research with a CWRU faculty member. The Seyfert Fellowship will be awarded based on a national competition early each spring, and the term of the award will run from late May - early August, 2012.

This application form should be mailed or emailed no later than January 15, 2012 to:

Undergraduate Astronomy Research Program
attn: Agnes Torontali
Sears Library, 5th Floor
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7215

Applicants should also arrange to have an official transcript plus three confidential letters of recommendation sent separately to the same address.

The fellowship will provide travel costs, accommodation on campus at "The Village at 115" and a stipend of $4800 for the 10-week fellowship.

The Fellowship's namesake, Dr. Carl Seyfert (1911-1960), was a Cleveland-born astronomer who worked on a variety of subjects, including stellar and galactic astronomy, and astronomical instrumentation. He was a pioneer in the study of spiral galaxies with bright emission-line nuclei. Such galaxies are now referred to as "Seyfert galaxies," and are believed to host supermassive black holes at their centers which drive their nuclear activity.

Questions? Send email to

"[My Seyfert Fellowship] let me learn just how much work goes into data analysis and preparation and let me have extensive practice in computer coding. I had a lot of fun, both working in the lab and hanging out with the other undergraduate students in the department. Aisde from a trip up to Cedar Point (which was a blast), they showed me around the area and took me up to the Warner and Swasey telescope on-campus for a night. Thanks to everyone in the astronomy department for a fun and educational summer!" 

--Lauren Kahre, 2010 Seyfert Fellow

Past Seyfert Fellows and Projects

2011 Seyfert Fellow: Hope Miller (Clarion University)
Hope Miller worked with Professor Idit Zehavi and postdoc Hong Guo studying the distribution of galaxies in color, magnitude, morphology and redshift using new data from the latest phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Hope characterized the galaxies distribution using different color-color and color-magnitude diagrams applying different selection cuts. In particular, she investigated ways to separate the galaxies into the "red sequence" and "blue cloud" subpopulations, using the information in the different bands and at different redshifts. This will aid in defining physically motivated subsamples of the full galaxy samples, essential for studying the clustering and halo modeling dependence on these properties.

2010 Seyfert Fellow: Lauren Kahre (University of Alabama-Huntsville)
Lauren worked with Professor Chris Mihos studying the distribution of globular clusters in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. Using deep imaging data taken from CWRU's Burrell Schmidt telescope, along with imaging of Virgo globular clusters from the CFHT "Next Generation Virgo Survey", Lauren measured the specific frequency of globular clusters (the number of clusters per unit galaxy luminosity) around M87 and throughout the Virgo Cluster. Lauren also developed advanced techniques for correcting the deep CFHT images to remove contamination due to bright foreground stars, which improved significantly our ability to see faint stellar features around Virgo galaxies in the NGVS data.

2009 Seyfert Fellow: Sam Stoever (Cornell University)
Sam worked with Professor Heather Morrison on the origins of the Milky Way's disk. They used the unique imaging available from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), of which the department is now a full member. Using the colors of stars just evolving off the main sequence, they were able to constrain the ages of stars in both the inner and outer parts of the disk: important historical information never before available. Sam's talent with computer languages benefited the project, which Professor Morrison is now continuing with SDSS astronomers in the US and Germany.

2008 Seyfert Fellow: Ed Montiel (University of Arizona)
I worked with Professor Heather Morrison on the Ring Around the Galaxy, which is a ring-like feature stretching 100 degrees around the outside of our Galaxy's disk, using SDSS imaging and spectroscopy, to try to decide between two different theories. One theory has the Ring formed by an accreting satellite which leaves tidal streams woven around the disk, the other theory says that the Ring is just some feature of the outer disk, which is not well studied at all. Our results indicate that the outer disk origin is more likely.