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Why Science?

ORNL is proud of its role in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers. We bring in talented young researchers, team them with accomplished scientists and engineers, and put them to work at the lab’s one-of-a-kind facilities. The result is research that makes us proud and prepares them for distinguished careers.

We asked some of these young researchers why they chose a career in science, what they are working on at ORNL, and where they would like to go with their careers.

Rachel L. Seibert

Postdoc, Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division
Ph.D., Condensed Matter Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology
Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington

What are you working on at ORNL?

My research at ORNL focuses on development of nuclear fuel concepts and understanding the behavior of nuclear fuels under irradiation. I primarily work on post-irradiation examination—for example, using microscopy to study fission product behavior and microstructural evolution in silicon carbide for fuel containment in both fuel and surrogate systems.

What would you like to do in your career?

I want to work jointly in academia and at a research institute like ORNL in nuclear and alternative energy. I’d like to continue my work in nuclear fuels, and I want to see my work making a contribution to the energy sector.

Why did you choose a career in science?

It was natural. I always excelled when I was doing hands-on work, and my mind was geared more for math and problem-solving and puzzles. I was one of those kids who dreamed of saving nature, so I knew I wanted to be involved in alternative energy.