Students Earn National Awards for Nuclear Energy Related Research


Three Boise State students in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering have been awarded financial support for their nuclear energy research through the Department of Energy Integrated University Program.

These awards are part of more than $5 million nationally being distributed by the Department of Energy to further undergraduate and graduate researchers in their nuclear energy related studies. They include 45 scholarships of $7,500, and 33 fellowships of $50,000 annually for three years for students at U.S. colleges and universities.

Award recipients:

Addie Lupercio, Fellowship

Photo of Addie

“My research will be focused on the mechanical and thermophysical properties of uranium dioxide (UO2) and doped-UO2 for the advancement of nuclear fuels. The fellowship will allow me to develop a career as a research scientist and advance nuclear energy to impact the local and global community both educationally and environmentally.”

Research faculty advisor: Brian Jaques, assistant professor

Kaelee Novich, Scholarship

Photo of Kaelee

“For the last year, I have worked with a Ph.D. student on a research project to develop a way to incorporate boron into a molten aluminum alloy that will be cast and used for dry-cask cooling storage. Dry-cask cooling storage for nuclear waste can be a long-term solution compared to previous uses of underground pools, which are reaching capacity. By using borated aluminum, a material is created that has adequate structure and properties for storage, transportation, heat transfer and neutron shielding.”

Research faculty advisor: Brian Jaques, assistant professor

Sven Marnauzs, Scholarship

Photo of Sven

“The overarching theme of my research involves leveraging data science to accelerate materials development. More specifically, I am currently writing a paper on using machine learning to predict properties of an interesting family of 2D electronic materials. In the future, I plan on using these skills in a nuclear science related field.”

Research faculty advisor: Lan Li, assistant professor