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CAES to Offer Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing

Boise State University undergraduates will soon have a new opportunity to contribute to “Advanced Manufacturing for a Sustainable Energy Future.” The program is thanks to a recent grant to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls.

This 10-week program will enable 10 undergraduate students from Idaho’s 2-year and 4-year institutions, and universities from across the nation, to work alongside CAES-affiliated faculty from Boise State University, Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. They’ll work on projects related to advanced manufacturing in collaboration with scientists from Idaho National Laboratory. The selected research projects will leverage new capabilities in the CAES facility, including a state-of-the-art transmission electron microscope and a suite of instruments for advanced manufacturing of sensors and instrumentation for extreme environments.

The program is led by the CAES Associate Director for Boise State, David Estrada, and CAES Fellow Brian Jaques, the co-principal investigator on the $365,000 grant, which will fund the program for three years. Carl Siebert of Boise State’s Program Evaluation and Research Lab will support them by studying the role of faculty and national lab scientist mentorship on undergraduate student’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Identity.

Students accepted into the program will receive approximately $10,000 in participant support for salary, travel, housing and meals. Students will gain hands-on research experience in additive manufacturing, nuclear materials, computational materials science, hydrogen storage, high temperature magnetism and more. Team-building activities will leverage Idaho Falls’ proximity to national monuments and national parks.

“The intersection of advanced manufacturing with energy sciences is an emerging and exciting area of engagement for Idaho National Laboratory,” said Robert O’Brien, director of Advanced Manufacturing at INL. “This program highlights the important fundamental research in this area ongoing at CAES, and it will help establish a pipeline of talent to support Idaho’s future manufacturing workforce.”

A similar program has been in place for about a decade in Boise State’s materials science department and has proven to be an invaluable recruiting tool. Estrada expects the CAES version will prove equally useful at recruiting talent into the graduate schools at the CAES universities (Boise State, Idaho State University and University of Idaho) and to INL. During the summer camp, students will network with and learn from INL researchers, have opportunities to share their work with an active research community and co-author publications and presentations based on their research findings.

“The success of this program will only be possible through the strong collaborations enabled through CAES,” Estrada said. “I am extremely grateful for the support of the CAES Executive Board, and the CAES-affiliated faculty from the state’s research institutions for their commitment to advancing the mission of CAES in support of a better energy future.”