Idaho State’s Emerald Ryan Among New Class of INL Graduate Fellows

This story is part of series featuring INL graduate fellows who attend one of the four CAES universities. Stay tuned for additional features on other graduate fellow students.

By Andrew Taylor, Idaho State University

Idaho State University nuclear science and engineering doctoral student Emerald Dawn Ryan is among 13 students in Idaho National Laboratory's second cohort of graduate fellows.

The new graduate fellows, announced this week by INL, were selected from universities throughout the United States. The first cohort of INL graduate fellows was selected in August 2017.

Ryan's ISU adviser is Chad L. Pope, professor and nuclear program director, and her INL mentor is Steve Prescott, a software engineer.

Emerald is a brilliant Ph.D. candidate and will excel in this new challenge, Pope said. It is also great to see someone who grew up in Pocatello succeed in such a challenging environment.

The recipients of these competitive fellowships have their tuition and fees covered by their university during the first years of graduate school (years one to three), and their tuition and fees plus a stipend are paid by INL during the last two years of their doctoral research performed at the lab.

In the first years of their Ph.D. program, graduate fellows will spend most of their time taking classes at their university. That balance will shift in the last years of their program, when graduate fellows will spend the majority of their time at INL conducting research. The typical graduate fellow program runs between three and five years.

There are mutual benefits for the graduate fellows, universities and the lab. Throughout the program, the graduate fellows will interact and collaborate with both their INL mentor and university adviser.

The program allows INL to integrate students into the laboratory and provides graduate fellows with work on significant projects that will help them fulfill their research requirements. INL gains access to skilled staff, along with the opportunity to build long-term collaborations with universities, increase recruiting opportunities, and interact with a continuous pipeline of students interning and conducting research at the lab. Both the university and INL have the opportunity for joint publications and intellectual property.

INL graduate fellowships provide great opportunities for everyone involved, said Michelle Thiel Bingham, INL's University Partnerships program director. Students receive quality education and an invaluable research experience, and help inspire our INL research with fresh perspectives. INL strengthens its partnerships with universities while continuing to develop the next generation of engineers, researchers, scientists and leaders.

Graduate fellows were selected in degree fields that closely tie to INL's three mission areas of innovative nuclear energy solutions, other clean energy options and critical infrastructure.

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Idaho Falls Post Register. It has been republished here with permission from the newspaper and Idaho State University.

July, 2018.