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girlcon
Four scientists at NETL are inspiring girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at GirlCon 2021, an international tech conference aiming to empower the next generation of female leaders. Natalie Pekney, Alexandra Hakala, Circe Verba and Madison Wenzlick are slated to present at several sessions throughout the conference to share their career stories, offer tips for working in energy and address challenges girls may face in pursuing STEM. The conference, held virtually this year from June 27-30, features breakout, professional development and keynote sessions from numerous companies and backgrounds to promote networking and building connections. Attendees have the chance to personally connect with companies from countless career paths and gain mentorship from women in both college and the workforce.
MLEF Students and Brian Anderson
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., spoke today to interns who will be participating in this year’s Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) at several locations across the country, including NETL. The mission of the MLEF program is to strengthen a diverse pipeline of future science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals, and mentors involved with the program have offered guidance to several hundred of the best and brightest students from across the nation since its inception. The MLEF program was created in 1995 with the goal of improving opportunities for underrepresented and minority students in STEM fields. The 10-week fellowship, open to undergraduate and graduate students, offers a unique research experience for the next generation of STEM professionals. “Seeking diverse viewpoints and perspectives has always been foundational for how NETL develops solutions to our nation’s toughest energy challenges,” Anderson said. “We are committed to acknowledging and valuing the strength of diversity, and the MLEF program is a great opportunity to gain insights from students and increase opportunities for students with a variety of backgrounds.”
MLEF
Student participants chosen across three internship programs will gain valuable research experience under NETL mentors as part of the Lab’s 2021 summer internship initiative. Interns from the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF), Consortium of Hybrid Resilient Energy Systems (CHRES) program and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office (EERE-AMO) Energy Storage Internship Program will spend 10 weeks conducting research virtually and receiving guidance from their mentors as they gain experience to become the next generation of energy innovators. Participants include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors who will get one-on-one mentorship experiences collaborating with NETL’s world-class scientists and engineers.
Python
In support of NETL’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program, the Lab consistently engages new organizations such as Morgan State University (MSU), which is developing robust high-temperature sensors that will unlock higher power plant efficiencies as part of their first‑ever collaboration with NETL. “Higher efficiencies are key to reducing carbon emissions,” said Maria Reidpath, who manages the MSU project. “As a result, accurate temperature monitoring is critical to achieving these goals. That is why the MSU work is so important — the team is developing much-needed temperature sensors and making sure they will survive in the extreme environments of advanced power generation systems.” The sensors under development at MSU are ceramic-based, super-high temperature thermocouples that are corrosion resistant and erosion resistant up to 1800 degrees Celsius and 1000 PSI. The ceramic thermocouples are as economical as traditional metal-based thermocouples while providing the ability to work under extreme conditions in the same ways as more expensive optical and acoustic sensors.
NSB Logo
After taking first place in their respective regional Science Bowl competitions, Princeton Senior High School (Princeton, West Virginia) and Franklin Regional High School (Murrysville, Pennsylvania) competed in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® high school preliminary rounds Saturday, May 22. Unfortunately, neither team advanced to the elimination rounds. The National Science Bowl is a nationwide competition held annually to promote science and technology in education. High school students compete as teams in an action-packed quiz bowl format to answer questions on science, math and engineering. Across the country, 5,740 high school students competed on 1,184 teams from 796 schools over the weekend. First-place winners of regional competitions competed in three preliminary rounds, with the top 32 teams advancing to the elimination rounds. All events were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
STEM
Approximately 400,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines cross the nation. In this quarter’s Research Associate Spotlight and Mentor Profile, a young scientist discusses how he has teamed with his NETL mentor to develop an enhanced technology to monitor the integrity of these lines 24/7. Research associate Nageswara “Nagesh” Lalam, a participant in the NETL Post Graduate Research Program administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, shares how novel fiber optic sensor systems can provide real-time monitoring of this vital component of the U.S. energy infrastructure. His mentor, Michael Buric, Ph.D., a staff scientist on NETL’s Functional Materials Team, discusses the valuable contributions Nagesh is making at the Lab and the career-building opportunities his mentee is experiencing.
NSB Logo
After taking first place in their respective regional Science Bowl competitions, Suncrest Middle School (Morgantown, West Virginia) and North Allegheny Cyber Academy (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) competed in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® middle school preliminary and elimination rounds Saturday, May 8. Out of 52 teams consisting of 2,720 middle school students from across the country, Suncrest Middle School finished in the top 32 and North Allegheny Cyber Academy finished in the top 16. The National Science Bowl is a nationwide competition held annually to promote science and technology in education. High school students compete as teams in an action-packed quiz bowl format to answer questions on science, math and engineering. First-place winners of regional competitions from across the country competed over the weekend in three preliminary rounds, with the top 32 teams advancing to the elimination rounds. All events were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Powerful Presentations
Throughout March, NETL’s inaugural Powerful Posters series provided the Lab’s research associates in the Professional Internship Program (PIP), Postgraduate Research Program (PGRP), and Faculty Research Program administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) with an opportunity to gain valuable research presentation experience. Powerful Posters allowed participants to display what they learned while researching under their respective NETL mentors currently in a virtual setting due to the pandemic. In addition to displaying their research, the participants got to connect with other NETL researchers, practice summarizing research and presenting it attractively, prepare for future poster sessions and competitions at professional meetings and conferences, and add to their presentation experience. A total of nine research associates presented their Powerful Posters to about 40 NETL researchers and staff.
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $17.3 million for college internships, research opportunities, and research projects that connect talented science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and faculty with the world-class resources at DOE’s National Laboratories. Awardees represent academic institutions from all across America—including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)—highlighting DOE’s commitment to supporting a highly-skilled, diverse workforce that is equipped to tackle the science, energy, environmental, and national security challenges of today and tomorrow. “By investing in STEM students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, we can ignite the most creative and innovative ideas to solve our biggest problems and maximize our competitiveness,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE and the Biden Administration are committed to nurturing a skilled workforce that looks like America, and these awards will help us prepare rising stars everywhere to dream up the very best solutions for our nation and our people.”
Winners
Team 1 from North Allegheny Cyber Academy, located in Wexford, Pennsylvania, claimed victory at the 30th annual Western Pennsylvania Regional Science Bowl (WPASB) middle school competition, organized and sponsored by NETL. The event was held March 6, 2021, in a virtual format. Twenty-two teams from 13 school districts from across the state participated in the competition. The WPASB tested students’ knowledge of math and science with preliminary and elimination competition rounds. High school teams competed Saturday, Feb. 27. Coming in at second, third and fourth place in the middle school competition were Jefferson Middle School (Mt. Lebanon), North Allegheny Cyber Academy Team 2 (Wexford) and Marshall Middle School (Wexford), respectively.