Four Virginia Tech students are part of a small nationwide cohort to receive University Nuclear Leadership Program (NLP) scholarships from the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy (DOE-NE) to advance their studies in the field of nuclear engineering.

Since 2009, the DOE has awarded more than 1000 scholarships and fellowships totaling approximately $60 million to students pursuing nuclear energy-related degrees.

Adam Berlinerman, a senior mechanical engineering major, is receiving the scholarship for a third consecutive year. He hopes to the education he's receiving to work for a national lab conducting research on molten salt reactors, an advanced reactor company in their R&D department, or as a legislative technical staffer.

Fellow Mechanical Engineering major Courts Breeden joins the cohort this year. Breeden’s goal after he finishes his studies is to do military contracting work with Nuclear power, possibility designing the reactors that go into aircraft carriers.

Materials Science and Engineering major Cole Manfred is also receiving a scholarship. Manfred hopes to apply his nuclear engineering education toward radiation and plasma effects on materials in future research.

Chemical Engineering major Benjamin Newhouse is the final recipient of this year’s scholarship. Newhouse places his focus on the industrial process of nuclear engineering, and he will also be participating in an internship at BWXT Nuclear Operations Group in Lynchburg this summer. His focus there will be on nuclear fuel processing, a field that brings together his interests.

The Virginia Tech Nuclear Engineering program has experienced steady growth in recent years, expanding from a graduate-only program to include an undergraduate minor. Each of the scholarship winners in this year’s group are nuclear engineering minors.

According to the program website, the DOE annually awards more than $5 million through the University Nuclear Leadership Program, distributed in undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to students pursuing nuclear engineering degrees and other nuclear science and engineering programs relevant to nuclear energy. Undergraduates at 4-year institutions receive a $10,000 award to help cover education costs for the upcoming year.

More about the Virginia Tech nuclear engineering program is available at