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NETL will take part in the Student Leadership Innovation Summit, a virtual event to be hosted by the Open Window School in Bellevue, Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to encourage young minds to explore careers that involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Held for children in grades five through seven, the event will be an opportunity for NETL to share information and insight about careers, top challenges, visions for the future, innovations the Lab would like to advance, and the potential impact these innovations may have. Following the summit, students will participate in the ExploraVision competition, in which they will select a science-related issue they are passionate about and work in small teams to tackle that issue through the use of innovative technology. The competition endorses STEM literacy by improving skills in the areas of critical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, and problem solving.
NETL Research Associate Kristyn Johnson took the top prize at the national Ignite Off! Competition this week for her dynamic Ignite Talk — a fast-paced presentation that uses 20 picture-centric slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. She previously advanced from the local round at NETL and went on to compete against the other finalists from Argonne National Laboratory and Oakridge National Laboratory, winning for a presentation on her research investigating rotating detonation engines. Kristyn is part of the Professional Internship Program and her mentor is Don Ferguson. “I was very happy to represent NETL in the final round of the competition,” Johnson said. “The entire experience, both presenting my own work in such a unique format as well as learning about the work of other researchers, was very interesting and beyond rewarding. To win the competition is truly an honor that would not have been attainable without the support of our pressure gain combustion team.”
Students from all around the country demonstrated their research prowess during the Department of Energy’s 25th Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) summer internship program via virtual conference throughout the week of Aug. 3-7, 2020. The MLEF Technical Forum provided an opportunity for the participants to share their research, outcomes, and what they learned collaborating with their mentors and research advisors throughout their nine-week internship. NETL hosted 29 Mickey Leland fellows this year, representing 26 colleges and universities from 16 states, with two participants from Puerto Rico.
NETL Morgantown
NETL continues to adapt to current events by taking the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) summer internship program virtual for the participating students for the first time. Participants include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors who will get one-on-one mentorship experiences working with NETL’s world-class scientists and engineers. Sean Sanguinito, a research scientist at the Lab’s Pittsburgh location who has mentored in the program for years, said that although the Lab’s facilities remain closed, the ability to take the program online has plenty of valuable experiences to offer such as modeling studies, data analysis/interpretation, literature review work, and other computational efforts. “While participants won’t be on-site, they will still learn about all the different components that are involved in being a research scientist,” he said. “Research does not simply include conducting laboratory experiments. The students will perform literature reviews, analyze existing data, interpret and plot existing data, write up their results, and present their conclusions in a professional manner.”
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have selected 12 projects to receive approximately $6 million in federal funding to support high-risk fundamental research that advances the science of coal technology at U.S. colleges and universities. These projects are supported through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002193, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications. This FOA encompasses two separate university programs: the University Coal Research (UCR) Program and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) Program. Each program has its own requirements and restricted eligibility. Projects under this FOA support early-stage, fundamental research that advances the science of coal technologies, while also helping train the next generation of energy researchers, scientists, and engineers at U.S. colleges and universities. The HBCU/OMI program aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in that research.
Energy 101
As a world leader in high-performance and advanced materials research, NETL’s Crosscutting High Performance Materials Program presents the Regional Work Force Initiative (RWFI) Energy 101 Series, which shares how the Lab’s work and expertise translates to savings and benefits for industry and the local economy. The Lab’s Crosscutting High Performance Materials Program enhances the nation’s industrial high-temperature materials supply chain by accelerating the development of improved steels, superalloys, and new advanced manufacturing methods. NETL also assists in completing full-scale manufacturing trials of power plant components, along with creating solutions to address challenges for both the existing fleet and future power systems. The program spans several areas of research such as Computational Materials Design, Advanced Structural Materials, Functional Materials for Process Performance and Advanced Manufacturing, and seeks to solve various costs and challenges faced by multiple industries.
Brian Anderson
NETL Director Brian Anderson shared the Lab’s contributions in addressing America’s long-term energy challenges while retaining environmental integrity at a gathering of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Energy Initiative. Anderson highlighted NETL’s advances in cost-effective implementation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies throughout the power-generation sector to ensure Americans continue to have access to clean, affordable and reliable energy. He also explained how NETL’s core competencies can be applied to many fields beyond fossil fuels. “If you’re a good geoscientist, you can apply your skills in geothermal, carbon sequestration, oil & gas recovery, nuclear waste storage or even seismic predictions. We do the same,” Anderson said. “The message I wanted to get across is that we’re more than just a fossil energy laboratory. Yes, we’re the fossil energy laboratory, but we’re applying our expertise across many energy sectors.” Anderson’s presentation at MIT focused on the Lab’s efforts to lower the nation’s costs of addressing carbon emissions with the right techniques and technologies.
The K-12 STEM Education and Outreach Team at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) led several Science Bowl competitions in West Virginia and Pennsylvania and facilitated collaboration between organizations and community partners in February. Also during the month, several of the Lab’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Ambassadors visited career fairs and other science-themed events to share information about a career in energy, encourage students to explore science learning and bridge the gap between students and researchers at NETL.
North Allegheny Senior High School, and North Allegheny School District’s Marshall Middle School Team 1 claimed victory at the 29th annual Western Pennsylvania Regional Science Bowl (WPASB), organized and sponsored by NETL. The event was held Feb. 22 and 29, 2020, at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Forty teams from high schools and 32 teams from middle schools throughout the state participated in the competition. The WPASB tested students’ knowledge of math and science with round-robin and double-elimination competition rounds. High school teams competed Feb. 22, followed by middle school students Feb. 29.
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As the world enters a new decade, change is on the horizon — especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). According to Forbes, women in the U.S. currently earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees; however, they are underrepresented in fields such as computer science, engineering and mathematics. Additionally, women who earn science and engineering degrees often do not go on to careers in those paths. Closing the gap and ensuring equal female representation in science careers is important in generating new solutions to the nation’s technology challenges. NETL is greatly benefited by the contributions of its many female employees who perform outstanding work and serve as role models for future female leaders in STEM. From managing a wide number of NETL projects to discovering the next breakthroughs in energy technology, read about three women who are making a difference in the science and engineering community below. Patcharin Burke, Ph.D. — Technical Project Coordinator, Materials Science