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U.S. Department of Energy Awards $5 Million to the Next Generation of Nuclear Scientists and Engineers

New Scholarships and Fellowships Will Help America Harness Nuclear’s Full Potential to Power a Clean Energy Future

 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced more than $5 million in scholarships and fellowships for students across the country pursuing degrees in nuclear energy and engineering. These awards through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Integrated University Program will invest in the next generation of nuclear energy leaders, so that they can develop innovative solutions to today’s challenges and help America meet the Biden Administration’s ambitious goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Nuclear power is going to play a critical role in America’s clean energy future, which means it’s more important than ever that we invest in developing the braintrust,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s brilliant students are going to power tomorrow’s cutting-edge solutions, and I can’t wait to see where they take us.”

Nuclear power is one of the most reliable sources of energy in America, and the largest domestic source of clean energy—providing 52% of the nation’s carbon-free electricity in 2020, and about a fifth of U.S. electricity overall. More research and development in technologies like advanced nuclear reactors and fuels will help America realize nuclear’s full potential to meet its energy, environmental, and economic needs—all made possible by a strong pipeline of nuclear energy and engineering students.

The awards announced today include 50 undergraduate scholarships and 31 graduate fellowships, for students at 35 colleges and universities in 23 states. Each undergraduate scholarship provides $7,500 to help cover education costs for the upcoming year, while the three-year graduate fellowship provides $52,000 each year to help pay for graduate studies and research. Fellowships also include $5,000 to fund an internship at a DOE National Laboratory or other approved research facility to strengthen the ties between students and DOE’s energy research programs.

“As we set our sights towards building a cleaner, more resilient economy, our students and professors are playing a pivotal role in developing the clean technologies that will help us achieve our goal and training to operate them. Our Capital Region is home to numerous colleges and universities doing just that. I am elated to see our young researchers, engineers and innovators at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute receive this deserved funding that will propel us to a clean energy future,” said U.S. Representative Paul Tonko, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change.

“Congratulations to the Boise State University students receiving scholarships and fellowships from the Department of Energy this week.  It is so vital that the Department is supporting our next generation of nuclear scientists, and I look forward to the contributions these students will make to America’s energy future,” said U.S. Representative Mike Simpson, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Since 2009, the Integrated University Program has awarded nearly 850 scholarships and fellowships, totaling approximately $50 million in awards. Eight former fellowship winners are now university professors engaged in nuclear energy-related research, and one was competitively awarded an Office of Nuclear Energy research and development award in FY 2020. 

“It’s an honor to represent Nashville and what most people call the ‘Athens of the South’ because of our awesome universities here. I’m glad this funding is going to students who are doing groundbreaking research to advance society and build our future,” said U.S. Representative Jim Cooper.

“The Integrated University Program supports students in their path to becoming energy innovators and leaders. As we continue to see the devastating effects of climate change, it is more important than ever that we continue to find alternative sources of clean energy. I congratulate these students on their achievements and look forward to seeing their work in the future,” said U.S. Representative Earl Perlmutter.

“Students at UMass Lowell are leading the way on cutting edge work to understand and further develop renewable energy sources. Their efforts, as showcased by the awarding of this Integrated University Program scholarship from the Office of Nuclear Energy for a UML engineering student, has bolstered the university’s reputation as a leading research institution both regionally and nationwide. I’m incredibly proud to represent the brilliant students at UML, and I look forward to congratulating the awardee personally on this tremendous achievement,” said U.S. Representative Lori Trahan.

“Nuclear energy is a vital component of our country’s long-term energy mix and will help sustain our economic and security needs. Young scientists and engineers should be encouraged to pursue their studies in nuclear energy, and I am pleased that this goal will be supported with $30,000 in scholarships to students at Virginia Tech,” said U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith.

“I am thrilled to see the Department of Energy provide funding for future generations to pursue higher education in Nuclear Energy at Texas A&M. It is essential for the United States to invest in our young people by incentivizing educational developments in science and technology. These funds will help continue the Aggie tradition of excellence and further lead the country in advancing clean energy sources. Our nation must continue developing next-generation energy technologies as the world watches our lead. I am confident American exceptionalism through innovation will press onward,” said U.S. Representative Pete Sessions.

“Through these scholarships and fellowships, the Department of Energy is investing in our students and our country’s future as a leader in clean energy.” said U.S. Representative Deborah Ross. “I’m thrilled NC State University students will be receiving this support to continue their critical energy research and training. With all the incredible and innovative work being done throughout the Research Triangle and the entire state, North Carolina’s students and researchers are well-positioned to make crucial gains in combatting climate change, to the benefit of us all.”

“Penn State has always been at the forefront of Nuclear Engineering and I am thankful to the Department of Energy for making these scholarship and fellowship awards, which will help prepare the next generation to spark the innovations that will power our future,” said U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson.

“The University of Notre Dame is known around the world for its cutting-edge research and contributions to scientific advancements,” said U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski. “Congratulations to the students receiving these scholarships and fellowships, which will help open new doors to groundbreaking discoveries. I’m thrilled for this opportunity to strengthen the critical roles northern Indiana and Notre Dame play in fueling the future of American energy.”

“Nuclear energy is critical to providing carbon-free, base load generating capacity. It’s a vital component of our nation’s energy grid and a major job creator in Illinois and across the country, including at the Clinton Generating Station, which I represent in Congress,” said U.S. Representative Rodney Davis. “The Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy scholarships and fellowships grants will help educate the next generation of scientists and engineers so that our nuclear power plants, national labs, and energy industry as a whole are staffed with a capable, well-educated workforce. This is a great initiative that will support nuclear engineering programs the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and many other universities across the country.”

“Since 2009, the University of Florida has received 17 scholarships and eight fellowships through the DOE’s Integrated University Program, contributing to the next generation of nuclear scientists in the United States,” said U.S. Representative Kat Cammack. “As we move increasingly toward energy independence, the Department of Energy’s partnership with UF will be critical to ensuring our country is on the forefront of cutting-edge energy development. I’m proud of this year’s UF student scholarship recipient and this great program’s work to keep the U.S. nuclear energy sector moving forward.”

“Aiding our children’s educational and developmental needs, so they are better equipped to tackle the problems of tomorrow, is why scholarships and fellowships are important,” said U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk. “I have no doubt that the students pursuing degrees in nuclear energy at Kennesaw State University will benefit from this aid, and will apply it to furthering their future careers.”

“Our nation’s clean energy future must include nuclear power. With the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory all located in East Tennessee, we have all the assets needed to drive America’s energy innovation. I appreciate the U.S. Department of Energy recognizing the impact these scholarships and fellowships will have on students pursuing a degree in nuclear energy at the University of Tennessee,” said U.S. Representative Tim Burchett.

“Mississippi State University is a national leader in nuclear energy innovation, and I am pleased that Federal investments to support students in nuclear energy degree programs will be provided to our state,” said U.S. Representative Michael Guest.

Find additional information about nuclear energy scholarships and fellowships awarded at the Nuclear Energy University Program website. To learn about STEM and workforce efforts across the Department of Energy, visit the STEM Rising website.

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