Student achievements

Since 1958, MSU has been known for its innovations in nuclear science, making an impact in the United States and around the world. Michigan State’s nuclear physics graduate program has ranked number one since 2010, and twenty-six percent of U.S. nuclear physics graduate students receive part of their education at NSCL. That makes FRIB an important part of educating the next generation of nuclear scientists.

FRIB provides a learning environment for its students and encourages their educational experience. Below is a list of students who have received fellowships, scholarships, and other honors during their time at FRIB. 

2019

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP)

Rebecca Lewis

Zachary Matheson

2018

Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantship (AAGA)

Udiani Omokuyani

DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF)

Steve Fromm

Joint University - Fermilab Doctoral Program

Crispin Contreras 

Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award

Wei Jia Ong

Chris Sullivan

2017

Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award

Michael Bennet

Chunli Zhang

2016

Alfred J. and Ruth Zeits Research Endowment Fellowship

Chris Sullivan

2015

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF)

Amy Lovell

Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award

Zachary Meisel

 

2019

Rebecca Lewis

Rebecca Lewis is a graduate student at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL). She has been selected as a fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) beginning in June 2019. She is currently working on research funded by the NNSA’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program. She will be based in Washington DC for the duration of her yearlong fellowship.

Lewis is investigating techniques to indirectly constrain neutron capture reaction rates with Associate Professor of Chemistry Sean Liddick. The goal of the program is to provide neutron capture reaction rates for exotic neutron-rich nuclei that cannot be directly measured due to the lack of a suitable target of short-lived nuclei or neutrons. The experimentally constrained reaction rates are compared to theoretical predictions used in a wide range of applications. Lewis will be working in Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development. 

According to the NGFP program website: “NGFP offers unmatched opportunities for graduate-level students to gain hands-on experience and explore careers across the NNSA enterprise. Our fellows are highly sought after by employers, with many going on to make important contributions to NNSA and other leading national security organizations including national laboratories… During their year-long assignments, fellows participate in professional development, training, and networking opportunities with leaders from across the nuclear security enterprise.”

Zachary Matheson

Zachary Matheson is a graduate student at NSCL. He has been selected as a fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) beginning in June 2019. He is currently working on research funded by the NNSA’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program. He will be based in Washington DC for the duration of his yearlong fellowship.

Matheson studies theory of nuclear fission with Hannah Distinguished Professor of Physics at MSU and FRIB Chief Scientist Witold Nazarewicz. The goal of their research is in the delivery of high-fidelity fission models capable of providing high-quality nuclear data with quantified uncertainties. For many NNSA applications, the required data on fission cross sections or fission products cannot be obtained via experiment, because very neutron-rich nuclei with short half-lives are required. Matheson will be working in the Office of Advanced Simulation and Computing and Institutional Research and Development Programs.

According to the NGFP program website: “NGFP offers unmatched opportunities for graduate-level students to gain hands-on experience and explore careers across the NNSA enterprise. Our fellows are highly sought after by employers, with many going on to make important contributions to NNSA and other leading national security organizations including national laboratories… During their year-long assignments, fellows participate in professional development, training, and networking opportunities with leaders from across the nuclear security enterprise.”

2018

Crispin Contreras

Crispin Contreras is a postdoctoral student at NSCL. 

In 2018, Contreras was admitted to a 3-year PhD Program at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. The Joint University - Fermilab Doctoral Program was established in 1985 to encourage students to pursue a career in accelerator physics and technology by providing research opportunities using the facilities and expertise available at Fermilab. The PhD program works in a joint agreement with universities. Fermilab reimburses the university for the student's salary, and provides the research project and supervisors. Students maintain a relationship with their home institution's advisers who oversee the students' progress toward the PhD degree from their university.

Contreras studies the electromagnetic and mechanical properties of medium beta superconducting elliptical cavities with Dr. Yuriy Pischalnikov and Dr. Warren Schappert from Fermilab. The goal of his research is to understand the limitations of fast tuners based on piezo actuators. Superconducting linear accelerators (linacs) can provide high-power proton and ion beams in continuous wave (CW) or pulsed-mode operation. He is studying control algorithms and the development of a reliable piezo tuning systems with long lifetime for applications both in CW or pulsed linacs.

wEI jIA ONG

Wei Jia Ong was a graduate student at NSCL. In 2018, she received the Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award. Named after the late Dr. Sherwood K. Haynes, former professor and chair of the MSU Physics Department, the award is given to “outstanding graduate student(s) in physics or astrophysics.”

Ong studied the decay of the rare isotope 61V with JINA Department Head Hendrik Schatz. The data allowed her to determine the rate of neutrino emission from rare isotope layers in neutron stars observed by X-ray observatories in space.

sTEVE fROMM

Steve Fromm is a graduate student at NSCL. In 2018, he was selected as a fellow for the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF). The CSGF fellowship lasts for four years and provides an opportunity to work at a national laboratory for a summer in addition to standard graduate studies. 

According to the DOE CSGF website: “Established in 1991, the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems.

The program fosters a community of energetic and committed PhD students, alumni, DOE laboratory staff, and other scientists who want to have an impact on the nation while advancing their research. Fellows come from diverse scientific and engineering disciplines but share a common interest in using computing in their research.”

Fromm studies neutrino transport and nucleosynthesis in neutron star mergers with Assistant Professor of Physics Luke Roberts. His thesis work is directed toward developing next generation neutrino transport algorithms to better predict the final composition of neutron rich material ejected during mergers.

Udiani omokuyani

Udiani Omokuyani is a graduate assistant as NSCL. In 2018, he was awarded the Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantship (AAGA) from The Graduate School at Michigan State University.  

According to The Graduate School website: “the AAGA program seeks to ‘expand our campus and external partnerships to implement recruitment and retention practices’ that serve diverse populations and help foster inclusive communities. The Graduate School offers Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantships to help graduate programs recruit and then retain graduate students who have been accepted into a master’s or a doctoral degree program and whose enrollment will contribute to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion while enhancing their program’s academic excellence and diversity.”

Omokuyani studies nuclear many-body theory studies of dense nuclear matter with Theoretical Nuclear Science Department Head Scott Bogner and Professor of Physics Morten Hjorth-Jensen. Omokuyani aims to develop theoretically reliable approaches to studies of nuclear matter as it may appear in dense astrophysical objects like neutron stars, protoneutron stars, and dense matter in supernovae. This will include state-of-the-art models for nuclear forces. These studies aim to shed information on why nuclear matter is stable and outline the limits of stability. 

Chris sullivan

Chris Sullivan was a graduate student at NSCL. In 2018, he received the Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award. Named after the late Dr. Sherwood K. Haynes, former Professor and Chair of the MSU Physics Department, the award is given to “outstanding graduate student(s) in physics or astrophysics.” 

In 2016, he was selected to be a fellow in the Alfred J. and Ruth Zeits Research Endowment Fellowship. According to the Michigan State University Scholarships website, the fellowship is awarded to “graduate students in the College of Natural Science pursuing a degree in the area of condensed matter physics, with preference given to nuclear and laser science research.”

Sullivan pursued a PhD degree in physics with his research advisor, Professor of Physics Remco Zegers, and a PhD in Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering with his research advisor, Director of High Performance Computing Studies Dirk Colbry.

2017

Chunli zhang

Chunli Zhang was a graduate student at NSCL from 2014 to 2017. 

In 2017, Zhang received the Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award. Named after the late Dr. Sherwood K. Haynes, former Professor and Chair of the MSU Physics Department, the award is given to "outstanding graduate student(s) in physics or astrophysics."

Zhang studied theoretical nuclear physics with Hannah Distiguished Professor of Physics at MSU and FRIB Chief Scientist Witold Nazarewicz. In her research, she applied nuclear density functional theory to explain the interplay between single-particle and collective motion. More specifically, she evaluated the shape transition of triaxial neutron-rich nuclei undert rotation, investigated the angular momentum alignment under such transition, and gave explanations in the single-particle level. She also studied the nucleonic localization pattern and its evolution in the process of nuclear spontaneous fission within density functional theory. 

Michael bennett

Michael Bennett was a graduate student at NSCL. In 2017, he received the Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award. Named after the late Dr. Sherwood K. Haynes, former Professor and Chair of the MSU Physics Department, the award is given to "outstanding graduate student(s) in physics or astrophysics."

Bennett studied experimental nuclear astrophysics with Associate Professor of Physics Chris Wrede. His PhD thesis was on a measurement of the beta decay of 31Cl to constrain the 30P(p, γ)31S reaction rate, which strongly influences nucleosynthesis in classical novae.

 2015

Zachary meisel

Zachary Meisel was a graduate student at NSCL. In 2015, he received the received the Sherwood K. Haynes Graduate Physics Award. Named after the late Dr. Sherwood K. Haynes, former Professor and Chair of the MSU Physics Department, the award is given to "outstanding graduate student(s) in physics or astrophysics."

Meisel studied the masses of neutron rich rare isotopes with JINA Department Head Hendrik Schatz. The 1:100,000 accuracy achieved allowed him to determine the rate of neutrino emission from rare isotope layers in neutron stars. 

Amy lovell

Amy Lovell was a graduate assistant at NSCL. In 2015, she was selected to be a fellow in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF). She defended her thesis in February 2018.

According to the NNSA SSGF website: "The Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA SSGF) provides excellent financial benefits and professional development opportunities to students pursuing a PhD in fields of study that solve complex science and engineering problems critical to stewardship science."

"The fellowship builds a community of talented and committed doctoral students, program alumni, DOE laboratory staff, and university researchers who share a common goal to further their science while advancing national defense. The friendships and connections fellows make in the program continue to benefit them throughout their careers."

Lovell studied uncertainty quantification in reaction theory with Managing Director of FRIB Filomena Nunes as her mentor. The goal of her work was to use state-of-the-art statistics tools to quantify the uncertainties in the models currently used to describe elastic and transfer reactions.