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SPRING/SUMMER 2000

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New collaboration may increase minority numbers in nuclear engineering

To encourage minorities to pursue degrees in nuclear engineering, the Department of Engineering Physics will participate in a Department of Energy-funded pilot scholarship and fellowship program with South Carolina State University (SCSU), one of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Douglass L. Henderson

Douglass L. Henderson (13K JPG)

Currently SCSU's School of Engineering, Technology and Sciences offers four-year civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering technology degrees, but does not offer a nuclear engineering degree. Its partnership with UW-Madison will fill that gap, and help diversify the pool of nuclear engineering job candidates, says Professor Douglass Henderson, who coordinates the program's Madison aspect.

SCSU students who participate in the pilot program will receive $25,000 scholarships or fellowships to pursue nuclear engineering or health physics degrees. They will spend their freshman, sophomore and junior years at SCSU, study in summer here, return to SCSU for the fall semester of their senior year, and complete their final spring and summer semesters in Madison. "At SCSU, during their freshman and sophomore years, they'll pretty much take the general engineering courses they normally would take, and then we start to look at nuclear engineering courses more toward their junior year," Henderson says. "This is similar to the structure of the engineering curriculum at UW-Madison. From their junior year on, their courses are pretty much specialized toward nuclear engineering."

Their Madison education will include courses in reactor operations, theory & design, materials, economics & environmental analysis, power plant technology, and a nuclear reactor lab. About five SCSU students are now enrolled in the program, and may begin studying here as soon as summer 2001. Upon graduation, they'll receive degrees in nuclear engineering from UW-Madison.

The Department of Energy plans to expand the program to include several historically African-American colleges/universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and Native American tribal colleges.

While one of the program's goals is to raise the number of minority nuclear engineering graduates, Henderson hopes it also will encourage those students to pursue advanced degrees.

 

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