Physics Department News

Physics News - Spring 2024

Please join us in celebrating the first edition of Physics News - a biannual magazine containing recent news and announcements from our department.

Physic News Spring 2024 Newsletter

This edition encompasses the Fall 2023 Semester and includes stories that showcase some of the amazing events that occurred throughout. 

SCSU Physics News aims to highlight the achievements and accomplishments of all involved with Southern Physics. You can help us make the newsletter better by sharing your news and stories with us at or by visiting the department secretary.

Xander Petroski

The Southern Connecticut State University Physics Department would like to congratulate Xander Petroski on receiving the Fall 2023 NASA CT Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship. Xander is one of three recipients from Southern who have received awards from the CSGC this semester, and the first SCSU graduate student who has received the Graduate Research Fellowship.

Xander Petroski and Dr. Dana Cassetii

Xander first heard about the opportunity during the Physics Department Week of Welcome Reception when Professor Dana Casetti, the SCSU NASA CTSG representative, encouraged students to apply.

"It sounded like a really interesting opportunity, so I approached Dr. Casetti about it," he said.

Xander's winning project involves working with HST data, part of a larger program led by Professor Casetti, who will advise Xander as he moves forward with his research.

Dr. Casetti could not be prouder of Xander for his dedication and hard work, noting that the competition for the CSGC awards is of an exceptionally high caliber, but that fear of rejection should not discourage students from participating.

"I'm very happy for Xander!" Dr. Casetti said. "To my knowledge, this is the first time a graduate student from Southern has received this grant."

The Connecticut Space Grant Consortium offers regular Fellowships to promote and support research in areas that align with NASA Mission Directorates. Additionally, there are various awards offered at all levels of study to support Undergraduate and Graduate research, in addition to funding for Faculty and K-12 educators.

Xander is already considering the impact this award will have on his academic journey and future career prospects. "It feels like a very high level of accomplishment, because this is my first time applying for any monetary grant for academic research. So that's a pretty big deal for me. This project is going to end up forming the basis of my thesis, so that's definitely the next step and it's really going to get the ball rolling when it comes to applying for Ph.D. programs after graduation."

"It's surreal," Xander replied when asked how he felt about receiving the award. "It feels really cool to be recognized, especially because this is connected with NASA."

For SCSU students who may be interested in the program, the NASA CSGC Spring 2024 call for proposals has been announced with a deadline of January 17.

"These are opportunities that our students can take advantage of." Dr. Casetti said. "Sometimes the competition is harder than others, it varies, but it is an opportunity for students to go through the process of putting together an application and writing a proposal and see how it plays out."

For more information about the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, visit

Dr. Dana Casetti

Dr. Dana Casetti's work on the birth of the stars is featured here.   

To find out more about Dr. Casetti’s work and course offerings, visit

Dr Evan Finch

Dr Evan Finch's work on the strange matter is featured here.