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CAES March 2022 Newsletter

Pakala Receives National Science Foundation Award

The National Science Foundation awarded Krishna Pakala a $595,444 grant to explore storytelling curriculum intervention as a transformative approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching. The project is titled “Embedding Personal Narratives in Engineering Courses to Improve Engineering Student Success.”

Pakala, an assistant professor with the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and a CAES Affiliate, leads the project to develop, implement, and examine a theoretically-informed storytelling intervention in conjunction with The Story Collider into the College of Engineering curriculum.

In addition to the collaboration with the Story Collider, the project also aligns with the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education initiative. Traditionally, individual reflection and storytelling are typically not included in engineering curriculum as the focus is on the application of scientific knowledge. The project will identify story themes which are associated with the most substantial impact on students’ engineering identity, sense of belonging, and student success.

The research team will generate new knowledge about why storytelling assignments enhance student success, helping expand research on narrative identity and efforts to refine storytelling assignments to maximize influence on engineering students’ self-view. Pakala and the research group believe this project will enhance students’ professional engineering identity and sense of belonging in the major, which are critical to students’ success, longevity, and future professional performance. Additionally, the research will integrate with other storytelling initiatives currently underway at Boise State.

Updates and Upcoming Events

FY22 Collaboration Funds Call

Applications accepted until March 18

CAES is now accepting applications for CAES Collaboration Program Development Funds until March 18. In its fifth year, the CAES Collaboration Fund is designed to help establish collaborative research, innovation and educational relationships between INL researchers and the CAES universities – Boise State, Idaho State University and University of Idaho. Successful applicants will demonstrate how their proposal would enhance collaborative relationships among the CAES entities in in at least one of the seven focus areas outlined in the CAES Strategy: nuclear energy; energy-water nexus; cybersecurity; advanced manufacturing; innovative energy systems; energy policy; and computing, data, and visualization.

Funds for INL Fiscal Year 2022 will be granted to strategic and innovative proposals through an open application process after an internal CAES review for strategic alignment and best return on investment. CAES Collaboration Funds cannot be co-mingled with direct-funded INL programs or Lab Directed Research and Development (LDRD) projects, and they may not be used to collect data or perform R&D activities. In previous years, the typical award has ranged from approximately $20K to $40K.

The attached application should be completed by an INL employee and submitted via email to Amy Woodard at The deadline to apply is 5pm MT on March 18.

More information is available in the attached PowerPoint presentation and proposal guidelines, and on the CAES Collaboration Funds website.

Idaho Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program

The ISTPF program provides scientists, social scientists and engineers the opportunity to learn firsthand about policymaking through a yearlong, nonpartisan fellowship. This is a one-year fellowship, with renewal for an additional one-year term in the executive branch contingent upon funding.

One legislative branch fellow will be supported for the 2022-23 fellowship year. Up to two executive branch fellows will be supported for the 2022-23 fellowship year.

This year’s application deadline is March 27. Learn more about the ISTPF on the website Please feel free to reach out to with questions.

Idaho National Laboratory 2022 Internship Positions

In 2021, INL hosted 469 interns from over 100 different universities pursuing over 100 different majors.

Internship opportunities are available for undergrad and graduate students. The majority of INL internships are in STEM fields such as nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, renewable energy, chemistry, physics, computer science and cyber security. However, INL also offers internships in fields such as accounting, business, finance, marketing, communications, education, English, public health, fire protection, welding, logistics and many others.

2022 INL interns are paid a nationally competitive wage based on number of credits completed and degree program. Many of our internships also offer travel reimbursements and a generous housing stipend. The timing and length of internships are based on the need of the mentor and the availability of the student.

Please email with any questions.

Boise State CAES is now on Handshake and LinkedIn!

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