Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nerdy April Needs YOU!

Wow. I have been stressed-to-the-max lately, mostly due to working my grad school capstone proposal through the widgets and attempting to get it approved. Ugh...its been exhausting!

But, I have some great news to report: my grad school capstone proposal has been APPROVED! And there's more to it than just that.

I had written a **very** rough draft of my proposal in a previous class and the instructor thought it was a viable project, so I decided to beef it up a bit and present it to my capstone professor. The title? EVALUATING THE FEASIBILITY AND SAFETY OF TYPE 1 DIABETIC ASTRONAUTS. Cool huh? I thought so. It turns out my professor also thought so, which was a bit of a shock to me. My degree will be in Aeronautical Science so I thought he might not understand the issue of certifying medically imperfect astronauts, but I tried anyway. It turns out his wife is a Type 1 and he became very interested in my project. During our phone interview he told me most students just do the minimum, they pick an easy topic, like the FAA’s NextGen program, UAVs, or advanced cockpit systems. “But,” he said, “this topic is new and different. You will be a pioneer in this area. This could turn into a big deal.” I was absolutely floored.

After my professor approved my proposal (it took about 5 re-writes), he had to send it to another professor in the UK for approval. In another twist of fate, the UK professor approved my proposal upon the first submittal and replied, “My son is a Type 1. If it is ok with you (meaning my professor), I would like to read April’s capstone once you have graded it. This is important, I would be willing to support independently if needed.”

My professor replied that the UK professor has never asked to read anyone’s project after it has been submitted and that he usually doesn’t approve proposals on the first submittal. Hurray! It also turns out the UK professor is a statistician and has published two papers on measurement of the hemoglobin A1c. AHHHHH!! How did this happen to me? I feel completely blessed, maybe this is the plan…maybe this is why I was diagnosed with Diabetes in the first place.

 I don’t have any research money, so I can’t really complete my own research studies, therefore I will be relying on previously collected data and expert interviews to prove Type 1 Diabetics can function in space and what testing will need to be completed prior to spaceflight.

This is how you can help!

If you, or a T1D you know has been able to control the A1c level below 6.0 for a period of time (3+ months) please send me a quick e-mail at: nerdyapril@gmail.com I won’t have a large enough population to actually send out a “survey” and complete statistics, so I am completing an e-mail “interview” (really, it’s going to be more like a survey). You can choose to be anonymous in my paper or not. The idea is trying to correlate these months of very tight control to the tight control a T1D astronaut would need to examine the psychological effects (if any) of maintaining this level of control. I could really, really use your help…and future T1D astronauts will thank you. I am working on a compressed timeline, so I am planning to send out the interview questions this weekend, and you can complete them by next weekend. Thank you in advance!