Lukas Metzger, a recent graduate from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been awarded a fellowship from the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) through the US Department of Energy. The highly competitive fellowship provides $52,000 yearly for graduate work over three years and recognizes students who show high potential to become leaders in the nuclear energy field. Metzger was one of 28 students across the country to receive this honor, and is preparing to begin his graduate studies in nuclear engineering within the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Metzger graduated in May 2022 with a major in materials science and engineering. During his junior year, he had the opportunity to work with Professor Jinsuo Zhang in the Nuclear Materials and Fuel Cycle Center. This put him in contact with graduate students who shared some of their research experience, piquing his interest in their work exploring nuclear engineering.

Looking for a senior design project project, Metzger again found the opportunity to engage his growing nuclear interest. He chose a team that was replicating the conditions in a water reactor to see if nanomaterials could be added to increase the mechanical strength of a material in a nuclear reactor.

“Nuclear energy is the future, and want to make sure that research I contribute makes nuclear energy safer,”said Metzger. “I want my research to make the world a better place.”

Metzger intends to eventually complete a PhD in Nuclear Engineering. He enjoys the research and wants to remain on the cutting edge and discover new things. He hopes that his trajectory might one day take him into academia or possibly a national lab.