Ohio State students receive Department of Energy awards

Posted: May 10, 2021

Two Ohio State engineering students recently received accolades from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP). The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy announced awards of around $5 million, which provides 50 scholarships and 31 fellowships at 35 institutions across 23 states. Ohio State is one of these institutions, and received one scholarship and one fellowship.

Nick Krammer

Nick Krammer, an undergraduate chemical engineering student was the recipient of an NEUP undergraduate scholarship. Krammer began working as a student assistant for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency’s Radiological Division in the fall of 2020. His work involved calibrating dosimeters and decommissioning obsolete Geiger Counters. Over winter break, Krammer was able to gain experience at Ohio State’s Nuclear Reactor Lab before joining the Nuclear Analysis and Radiation Sensor Lab (NARS) run by Dr. Raymond Cao.

“I am very thankful to have received this scholarship, and it really shows how supportive my engineering professors have been in my undergraduate studies with the opportunities they’ve provided,” Krammer said. “It also shows how much the Department of Energy values nuclear energy and its development for the next generation of reactors.”

The scholarship will allow Krammer to dedicate his time to nuclear research during his final undergraduate semester. He hopes it will also help provide more opportunities to explore the nuclear research and engineering field.

“I’d encourage other students who are interested in a particular field outside from their direct major to pursue a [nuclear engineering] minor,” Krammer said. “Pursuing the minor opened doors for many opportunities I otherwise would not have had.”

The NEUP fellowship recipient was nuclear engineering graduate student, Pearle Lipinski. Lipinski is the first dual nuclear and law student, and recently received the Marie SklodowskaCurie Fellowship from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Pearle Lipinski

Lipinski is interested in researching how advanced models of probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) can be adapted as advanced nuclear reactors (ANR) mature and become part of the U.S. energy infrastructure.

“In particular, I plan to look at how a specific form of advanced PRA known as Dynamic PRA, which uses simulation to predict risk scenarios instead of deterministic models, could be verified and validated as part of its possible use in regulating ANRs,” said Lipinski.

As a law student, Lipinski had the opportunity to work with the Department of Energy’s Office of the General Counsel for Civilian Nuclear Programs this past semester.

It was exciting to be in that office right after the passing of the bipartisan Energy Act of 2020, which, among other provisions supporting clean energy, provides for significant development of nuclear energy technologies within the coming decades,” Lipinski said. “I’m honored to be supported by DOE as part of these efforts at this unique time in US nuclear energy development.”

The NEUP fellowship provides funding to assist with tuition and living expenses for three years. It also provides the opportunity for fellows to work as paid interns at DOE sites.

Lipinski said her dual degree program was an intentional way to intersect her legal and engineering interests, and to push forward on U.S. nuclear energy. She hopes that by the end of her fellowship, her work will have contributed to a cleaner U.S. energy infrastructure.