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Sahrai Luna

NASA Research Project

Sahrai is helping NASA develop a 3D printing method to produce less expensive optical lenses for use in telescopes, and she says the experience will boost her profile for medical school.

Sahrai Luna wants to attend medical school, and she believes the opportunities Creighton University offers undergraduates like her to conduct research are a significant step toward her goal.

Luna is currently working on a NASA research project while she pursues a biology/Spanish double major on the pre-med track in the College of Arts and Sciences. Luna working with Joel Destino, PhD, assistant professor in the chemistry department, on the $3,000 project.

If it’s successful, Luna’s research may lead to more compact, less expensive optical systems that could both could help NASA deploy much more cost-effective telescopes and create a new method to make them.

We asked Luna a few questions about her research and her experience at Creighton.

Q. Where are you from?

A. Wakefield, Nebraska.

Q. What’s your major and graduation year?

A. Biology/Spanish double major on pre-med track, graduation year May 2025.

Q. What kind of research are you doing?

A. I work with the Destino research group in the chemistry department. My job is to fabricate various compositions of Germania-Silica fiber optic glass materials. We then study the roles of nanoparticles since our group’s end goal is to 3-D print fiber optic glass.

Q. Would you recommend research to incoming students? 

A. Definitely! I have loved getting to know both my research and research group over the past year. Dr. Destino has made my experience great, which I believe speaks volumes about how dedicated the Creighton chemistry department is to its students. It has opened so many doors for me. I highly encourage incoming students to take advantage of Creighton’s commitment to research. 

Research has allowed me to learn about the laboratory side of science.
— Sahrai Luna

Q. How did you find out about the opportunity?

A. I am part of Student Support Services, and Dr. Destino reached out to the group seeking someone to be part of the lab. I applied and got the spot.

Q. Why is research important to you?

A. I am very passionate about working in a lab setting and learning about the impact of what my group makes. It’s amazing to see what you learn about in class applied to something you’re making but on a more advanced level.

Q. What’s the importance of the research? 

A. If you’re looking to go pre-med, research is very important, but you find that it’s so much deeper than that. You make amazing connections with your lab group, lab advisor, and people you meet at events. You learn about the meaning of your project and watch as it becomes part of you. This applies to any kind of research, not just research in lab settings.

Q. What are your plans after graduating? How is this research helping you reach your goals?

A. Being pre-med, I plan on applying to med school in hopes of becoming a physician. Research has allowed me to learn about the laboratory side of science and is teaching me how to present my findings in professional ways. Research is just one of the many ways that Creighton forms very well-rounded and professional students.