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Somya Jha


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I am a undergraduate student at the University of Michigan studying Astrophysics. In addition to astronomy, I am passionate about music, theatre, and the arts. My field of focus is cosmology and galaxy formation.


University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering
    • Physics and Astronomy
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Minors:
    • Music

Normal Community High School

High School
2018 - 2022


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Physics and Astronomy
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Teaching & conducting research at a university

    • Community Assistant

      Dinerstein Companies
      2023 – 20241 year


    • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

      Illinois State University — Researcher
      2023 – 2023
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics

      University of Michigan — Researcher
      2024 – Present


    • University of Michigan Women's Glee Club

      2023 – Present
    • Normal Community High School

      2018 – 2022
    • Normal Community High School

      2019 – 2022

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      Inclusive Education Coalition — Member
      2020 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      IPCEF — Member of YEP
      2018 – 2022

    Future Interests




    Imm Astronomy Scholarship
    My fascination with space began in elementary school, when I read a book titled Why Is Snot Green? Despite its crude title (highly appealing to my eight year old self), the book was highly informative. It was set in a question-and-answer format, with two characters: a young boy who would ask questions and an old man who would answer them. The topics jumped around according to the boy’s train of thought, but one exchange between the two characters wormed its way into my brain (through the nasal cavity) and never left. The boy asked the man what would happen if one was to go into space without a space suit on. The man replied that they would freeze and burn simultaneously. I was blown away. What kind of place could make someone freeze and burn at the same time? It sounded like something fantastical, not something that could exist in the real world. It felt like something that could only be true in the pages of one of my fantasy novels. This sparked a relentless curiosity within me. Everything I learned about space only intrigued me more. The idea that the universe is expanding, driven by a force we hardly understand, is exhilarating. This challenges our very understanding of physics, of gravity even. Now, as an undergraduate student studying astrophysics, I have immersed myself in courses and research that explores these mind-boggling phenomena. My coursework has provided me with a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and astronomy, which I can then in turn apply to the research that I conduct. This past semester, I explored the composition of dust in protoplanetary disks in T Tauri stars with Dr. Nuria Calvet at the University of Michigan. Being able to use actual data to find the real composition of an actual star was such a rewarding experience. Taking everything I have learned thus far and making an actual finding, an actual contribution to the scientific world, felt like the experience of a lifetime. This semester’s worth of research has made me incredibly confident that I am in the correct field. With my undergraduate degree, I intend to apply to graduate programs where I can conduct research, and eventually even teach at a university myself. I want to immerse myself in academia and research. In ten years, I envision myself as a professor at a leading university. I will be conducting cutting-edge research on dark matter and dark energy. I will be teaching curious and passionate undergraduates and sparking their own journeys with astronomy. As a woman of color in STEM, I am all too aware of the underrepresentation of minority groups in the sciences. I hope that my presence in this field– and maybe someday, my presence as a professor– will show other young women that they have a place studying astronomy. I am committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment in academia: celebrating diversity and ensuring that every voice is given space. Diversity drives innovation. With the support of this scholarship, I hope to continue my studies and work towards a future where I can make a difference both in our galaxy and in the lives of those on Earth.