In his capstone project, A Compact Binary Coalescence Search for Gravitational Wave Counterparts to Fast Radio Burst Events, Greg Walsh used multi-messenger astronomy to probe an astrophysical event known as a Fast Radio Burst, an energetic, millisecond radio pulse of extragalactic origins. His project brought him to the forefront of the field of Physics, conducting research that only very few, or possibly no one else, conducts. He credits his advisor, Dr. Ryan Fisher, with helping him formulating a comprehensive project that incorporated Greg’s research history and making it a better project than he could have done on his own.
The project also gave him the opportunity to work closely with researchers in his field, allowing him to build connections and gain insight from their experiences. His funding allowed him to attend and present his research at the April Meeting of the American Physical Society in Columbus, OH. His award covered everything from the cost of the conference to his room and o
The Capstone project is a wonderful opportunity for STEM students to experience first hand what research in their field is like. It also teaches students to overcome the ever present challenge of time management. Greg came to learn that “it is very rare that everything in your research project goes smoothly, and you must be able to work around these bumps efficiently to meet your goal…two years may seem like a lot of time, but this is rather short for a significant research project.”
Greg’s goal was to conduct research in astronomy, which is not a heavy focus of any research department in Syracuse. He had to step out of his comfort zone to complete his research, and he encourages other students to do the same. For Greg leaving his comfort zone meant working with a professor at West Virginia University in an entirely unfamiliar field. This unchartered territory led to further opportunities and a unique research project. His advice to future Capstone students: “when you first start your research, you will most likely feel overwhelmed. But that’s what happens! You will be talking like a seasoned veteran in no time. You will find that taking that first step, even if it feels like a leap, will pay off tremendously.”