DOE Announces Graduate Student STEM Awards

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program announced 70 awards to be distributed to students at 52 universities in the US that focus on doctoral degrees in physical sciences. The aim of the awards program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) careers by providing graduate research opportunities at twelve DOE laboratories.

The awards provide support for travel to and from a laboratory, plus a monthly stipend. The labs include CSA Corporate Sustaining Members Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

London Cooper-Troendle, a graduate student at Yale University, one of the winners, works with physics professor Bonnie Fleming on Fermilab’s MicroBooNE experiment to detect neutrinos that collide with argon atoms inside a sophisticated detector. Scientists track particle debris to learn the type and properties of neutrinos involved. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that carry no electric charge and travel through the universe almost entirely unaffected by natural forces.

“A big part of the analysis is characterizing what type of collision occurred between the neutrino and the detector body, which is liquid argon,” Cooper-Troendle says. “My prior and current work has been developing a new approach to determine a particle’s energy based on the angles at which it scatters while passing through the argon.”

During the SCGSR period, Cooper-Troendle will conduct related research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, determining the trajectory of particles, the number of electrons they ionize and how much energy they can be inferred to have from this process.

Information on all the winners and their related projects is available online, including related information dating back to 2014.