Fifth-year materials science and engineering doctoral student Kiyo Fujimoto has received a national appointment within the Students, Post Doctoral and Early Career (SPEC) Professionals Subcommittee of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Through this appointment, Fujimoto will provide input on how the STEM experience and environment can be improved for students, postdocs and early career professionals at colleges throughout the nation.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “PCAST advises the President on matters involving science, technology, education and innovation policy. The Council also provides the President with scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the American economy, the American worker, national and homeland security and other topics.”
“This appointment truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Fujimoto. “It is exciting to know that my experiences and input can be utilized to potentially improve the STEM experience for current and future generations of scientists and engineers.”
Fujimoto personally knows the transformative power of research and science. As a non-traditional undergraduate student, her academic and professional course changed drastically as research experiences shifted her interests from nursing, to chemistry, to her current work in materials sciences.
“What I learned from my undergraduate research experience was the value of curiosity, and that a scientist or engineer does not have to look or act a certain way. I learned that regardless of who you are you deserve the right to participate in and enjoy science,” she said.
An alumna of Boise State (BS, chemistry, ’16) Fujimoto also was an Idaho Space Grant Consortium Scholarship recipient for the first year of her graduate fellowship. Additionally, she was funded by the Nuclear Energy University Partnerships (NEUP) Fellowship and the Idaho National Laboratory Graduate Fellowship, which now fuels her current research. Fujimoto’s work utilizes 3D printing for the development and fabrication of advanced nuclear instrumentation and sensors to help qualify new nuclear fuels and structural materials for next generation nuclear reactors.
“Working with Kiyo in research has been an amazing experience. She constantly gives 100 percent in her research, and has developed new technologies and approaches that are starting to have a significant impact in the field of nuclear energy,”said Boise State’s associate director for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, Dave Estrada, Fujimoto’s doctoral mentor. “Her work has been critical to forming new collaborations and funding avenues for the Advanced Nanomaterials and Manufacturing Laboratory with NASA and Department of Energy Laboratories.”
Fujimoto said that her research experience at Boise State has been “amazing, life changing, and career transformational,” and she credits her husband and family, as well as the support of her Boise State mentors and Idaho National Laboratory as being pivotal to her success.
“What I have learned about myself is that I am far more capable than I ever thought I was. I have realized that I have an incredible family and support system through them, Boise State University and the Idaho National Laboratory. I have also discovered that I am truly passionate about both science and the research experience,” said Fujimoto.
“Kiyo has been a natural leader in our group and she will surely be a global leader in her field after graduation,” Estrada added.