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Photo of Amanda Lang. Photo courtesy of Chris Morgan, Idaho National Laboratory.

It may not be news for most people that advanced research goes on at Idaho National Laboratory. But many would probably be surprised to learn that one of the people conducting some of INL’s cutting-edge research just finished her sophomore year of college.

Amanda Lang, a nuclear engineering student from UW-Madison, was recently awarded a $3,000 scholarship by the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES). She was one of 10 students awarded a scholarship based on their INL summer internship work and their career plans for addressing the world’s energy challenges. Nine other students received scholarships for $1,000 each. Their summer projects varied widely, from technical writing to computer engineering and environmental science.

“The technical diversity of the outstanding set of winners highlights their broad set of talents,” said Oren Hester, CAES deputy director. “Such a talent base will be needed to produce innovative solutions to the energy challenges of today and tomorrow.” This is the third year CAES has awarded scholarships to INL interns. It launched the program to help fulfill its mission of increasing the number of students entering the energy field. Since 2008, CAES has given out $32,000 in scholarships.

Lang earned her scholarship for research and development performed while working as an intern at INL’s Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility (ATR NSUF) this summer. She was chosen from a highly competitive pool of roughly 260 interns working at the lab.

“I was very excited,” said Lang shortly after hearing the announcement that she had won. “It’s good to know that my project was valued and it was important to INL.” Lang spent her summer working on developing a special computer code that examines several factors to determine the radiation dose someone would receive if they handled specific materials that had been irradiated in the ATR.

“Amanda’s program will be used by researchers to estimate the dose from material samples so they can determine if these materials can be handled outside of a hot cell or require handling in a shielded facility,” explained Lang’s mentor, Mitch Meyer.

Lang hasn’t quite decided on a career path — she’s debating between nuclear power plant engineering and researching nuclear applications in the medical field. But she says the scholarship money will be useful in helping her along her way.

“I’ll use it toward tuition and books, so it will help me focus more,” Lang said. “I have a research job at the lab at Madison, so I can focus more on that instead of getting another part-time job or something, which will give me more experience in the nuclear field.”

Learn more about how to find an internship or co-operative experience through Engineering Career Services.

—Courtesy of CAES News, Idaho National Laboratory, Brett Stone

—Photo courtesy of Chris Morgan, Idaho National Laboratory.