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Student First Step Awards Help Path to Scholarship

Several of the 2019 Student First Step Award recipients.

Several Student First Step Award recipients, in no particularly order: Nischal Kafle, William Cureton, Eric O’Quinn, Michael Moore, Cody Walker, Vik Singh, James Brechtl, Cody Wiggins, Shawn Zamperini, Angela Simone, and Fan Zhang.

The Student First Step Awards recognize UT nuclear engineering students as they publish their first peer-reviewed journal article. Publishing is an important step toward a scholarly career and should be celebrated. To qualify for this award, the student must be the first author on the article, signifying that the student led the research, analysis, and writing of the paper. Two recent student publications highlight the valuable research generated.

Graduate student Vik Singh wrote about the dynamics and control of molten salt breeder reactors in the journal Nuclear Engineering and Technology. The results of this research have demonstrated the self-regulating feature of these systems, with near-autonomous operation, a valuable contribution in future development of these safe and advanced power reactors. The technical developments are being considered by the US industry responsible for the design of molten salt reactors.

Additionally, graduate student Eric O’Quinn published an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society about his research on materials that have a spinel structure. These materials are important in geological, industrial, and nuclear contexts but are still not well understood at the atomic-scale despite 100 years of research. O’Quinn was awarded a DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Fellowship to apply advanced modeling approaches to the existing data sets he collected of disordered materials. Based on results from experiments utilizing advanced neutron scattering techniques available at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the atomic-scale structure of disordered spinel compositions was shown to be quite different than previously imagined. For the first time, the structural details of these disordered materials can now be effectively studied at the atomic scale.

The Department of Nuclear Engineering is pleased to announce this year’s Student First Step Award recognitions for the following students:

  • Zachary Bergstrom
  • William F. Cureton
  • Peter J. Doyle
  • Elan Herrera
  • Matthew Herald
  • Anagha Iyengar
  • Seth T. Langford
  • Jennifer Littell
  • Zhengzhi Liu
  • Angela L. Lousteau
  • Michael Moore
  • Dallas Moser
  • Cody A. Nizinski
  • Eric O’Quinn
  • Raul l. Palomares
  • Nitant Patel
  • Hunter N. Ratliff
  • Caleb Redding
  • Gavin Ridley
  • Mikah Rust
  • Jacob Shamblin
  • Michael B. Shattan
  • Guinevere Shaw
  • Angela T. Simone
  • Vikram Singh
  • Ryan Sweet
  • Matthew C. Tweardy
  • Cody Walker
  • Cody Wiggins
  • Tomas Wulz
  • Fan Zhang
  • Caleb Massey
  • James Brechtl
  • C. Josh Beers
  • Congyi Li
  • Nischal Kafle
  • Shawn Zamperini
  • Matthew Lish
  • Alex Wheeler