Materials science and engineering graduate student awarded DOE fellowship

Jesse Westbrook
May 17, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Timothy Lichtenstein is one of 33 graduate students selected to receive a fellowship through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). Lichtenstein will receive $155,000 over the next three years to research electrochemical methods to reduce the volume of nuclear waste. He will conduct a portion of his research at a DOE national laboratory.

Lichtenstein is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering under the direction of Hojong Kim, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State.

“I am very thankful to be selected to receive this fellowship,” said Lichtenstein. “It gives me the opportunity to pursue my interests in electrochemistry and green technology.”

“Tim is well-deserving of this fellowship,” said Kim. “He has distinguished himself as a researcher, and the department is very proud of his achievement.”

This fellowship will enable Lichtenstein to continue his research in alternative fuels and their waste, specifically nuclear energy.

“The focus of my research is to develop and characterize electrochemical techniques to reduce and recycle portions of nuclear waste. My ultimate goal is to research and develop emerging technologies related to alternative energy,” said Lichtenstein.

Lichtenstein’s research is important for future U.S. energy interests as policymakers search for greener energy sources.

“Decreasing the volume and longevity of nuclear waste is important to make nuclear energy more attractive for future development,” said Lichtenstein. “This type of research can make nuclear energy more viable in the U.S.”

Lichtenstein received his bachelor’s degree in materials science in 2015 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, he conducted research on the characterization of electroactive polymers for redox flow cell batteries, furthering his understanding of electrochemical systems and the techniques that are used in electroanalytical chemistry. Lichtenstein also worked on fast-charging batteries as a scientist for Xerion Advanced Battery prior to arriving at Penn State. His goal is to improve environmentally friendly technologies upon receiving his doctorate.

Through the Integrated University Program, the U.S. Department of Energy is awarding more than $5 million for 57​ undergraduate scholarships and 33 graduate fellowships to students pursuing nuclear energy-related disciplines at universities across the country. The selected students will study a breadth of critical nuclear energy issues, from fuel cycle sustainability to reactor efficiency and design.

  • two researchers in a lab

    Timothy Lichtenstein, right, stands next to his faculty adviser, Hojong Kim, assistant professor of materials science and engineering.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 17, 2016