The Economical and Sustainable Materials Strategic Growth Area (ESM SGA) at Virginia Tech is sponsoring four undergraduate internships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the first time this summer to create unique and important research experiences for students.

Ethan Boeding (nanoscience major), Zachary Caprow (nanoscience major), Venkata Gadamsetty (engineering science and mechanics major), and Savannah Stevens (chemical engineering major) will attend a number of enrichment activities at ORNL, including professional development workshops, laboratory tours, lectures, seminars, and poster presentations. ORNL typically brings in hundreds of undergraduate students from around the world for internships via the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

“We were able to award four very talented Virginia Tech students this amazing opportunity to conduct research at a world-renowned national lab,” said Ann Marie Norris, program coordinator for the ESM SGA. “These students are currently being paired with project mentors at ORNL, and over the summer the students will work on their research and present it at an end of the summer poster presentation.”

The ESM SGA is funding two of the internships with ORNL providing matching funding for the two other opportunities. Students had to complete an application and submit their resume along with a faculty letter of recommendation for four available internships.

“ORNL is very excited to have more Hokie maroon and orange on our campus this summer,” said Jeremy Busby, division director for the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at ORNL. “Internships like these not only provide an opportunity to get top-notch students engaged in impactful research, but also help strengthen the longer-term ties back to Virginia Tech. I see that as a win-win-win.”

Upon returning to Virginia Tech in the fall, the students will be expected to make a 10 to 15-minute presentation to the ESM SGA Stakeholder Committee about their experiences and research. They will also provide a five to 10-page written report summarizing research findings and experiences with the program.

“This is another great example of how the Economical and Sustainable Materials SGA is working to strengthen the Virginia Tech-ORNL partnership by providing our students with excellent experiential learning opportunities,” said David Clark, department head for materials science and engineering.

The Economical and Sustainable Materials SGA is committed to the development of cross-disciplinary teams that will tackle critical scientific materials challenges related to health, energy, environment, and resilient infrastructure. The Stakeholder Committee views these challenges through an atoms/molecules-to-systems lens, so that research and education efforts will span the full scope and sequence of materials use, from discovery and computational modeling to processing, manufacturing, and implementation.

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