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DOE science poster competition at Oak Ridge National Laboratory boasts top student winners

 

Cynthia Chen, of Albuquerque, N.M., a student at the University of Texas at Austin and prize winner of the second annual DOE Science and Energy Research Challenge ? SERCh.  Pictured (l-r): Chen, Jim Roberto, ORNL Director of Strategic Capabilities; Gerald Boyd, Manager, DOE Oak Ridge Office. Cynthia Chen, of Albuquerque, N.M., a student at the University of Texas at Austin and prize winner of the second annual DOE Science and Energy Research Challenge ? SERCh. Pictured (l-r): Chen, Jim Roberto, ORNL Director of Strategic Capabilities; Gerald Boyd, Manager, DOE Oak Ridge Office.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 1, 2009 — Eighteen top national undergraduate science students, including one grand prize winner, have been named at the U.S. Department of Energy's second annual Science and Energy Research Challenge (SERCh,) held recently at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Cynthia Chen of Albuquerque, N.M., a student at the University of Texas at Austin, was awarded a science scholarship of $10,000 as the grand prize winner of the national poster competition.

Chen's research poster, titled "Enhanced Thermopower in PbSe polymer Nanocomposites," shows how automotive waste heat can be converted into electricity. Chen, who competed in the energy category, attributed her successful entry to help from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She also said she plans to continue her research in this field and pursue graduate school.

This year's SERCh event included 100 top undergraduate research students from colleges and universities throughout the country. Most projects focused on energy solutions, with competition categories in computational science, energy, engineering, environmental science, life sciences and physical sciences.

"These undergraduate students represent the Nation's future highly skilled technical workforce," said Bill Valdez, Director of the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists within DOE's Office of Science, which sponsors the SERCh competition. "Every year thousands of undergraduate students do important research at DOE national laboratories and at universities that will help us meet our future energy and environment challenges."

The students presented abstracts, posters, and oral presentations detailing high-level research they completed as DOE undergraduate researchers.

"This event was a clear demonstration of the extraordinary science and engineering talent that exists in our undergraduate colleges and universities across the nation," said Jim Roberto, ORNL Director of Strategic Capabilities. "We congratulate the winners and all participants for their research accomplishments, and we look to them as future science and technology leaders."

First-place winners in each category took home $3,000 academic scholarships. The first-place winners include: Stuart Slattery, computational science; Cameron Tracy, engineering; Hefei Li, environmental science; Kristen Meyer, life sciences; and Sidney Wilkerson-Hill, physical sciences. Second-place winners were awarded scholarships of $1,500, and third prize winners received $1,000 scholarships.

The Science and Energy Research Challenge is part of DOE's ongoing educational outreach efforts to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM - science, technology, engineering and math -- areas. The SERCh competition is sponsored by the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists of DOE's Office of Science.

UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.


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