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The DOE Fellows Program: A Workforce Development Initiative for the US Department of Energy

[+] Author Affiliations
Leonel E. Lagos

Applied Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Paper No. ICEM2013-96089, pp. V002T05A007; 6 pages
  • ASME 2013 15th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • Volume 2: Facility Decontamination and Decommissioning; Environmental Remediation; Environmental Management/Public Involvement/Crosscutting Issues/Global Partnering
  • Brussels, Belgium, September 8–12, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division, Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5602-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


The US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) oversees one of the largest and most technically challenging cleanup programs in the world. The mission of DOE-EM is to complete the safe cleanup of the environmental legacy from five decades of nuclearweapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. Since 1995, Florida International University’s Applied Research Center (FIU-ARC) has supported the DOE-EM mission and provided unique research capabilities to address some of these highly technical and difficult challenges. This partnership has allowed FIU-ARC to create a unique infrastructure that is critical for the training and mentoring of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and has exposed many STEM students to “hands-on” DOE-EM applied research, supervised by the scientists and engineers at ARC. As a result of this successful partnership between DOE and FIU, DOE requested FIU-ARC to create the DOE-FIU Science and Technology Workforce Development Initiative in 2007. This innovative program was established to create a “pipeline” of minority STEM students trained and mentored to enter DOE’s environmental cleanup workforce. The program was designed to help address DOE’s future workforce needs by partnering with academic, government and private companies (DOE contractors) to mentor future minority scientists and engineers in the research, development, and deployment of new technologies and processes addressing DOE’s environmental cleanup challenges. Since its inception in 2007, the program has trained and mentored 78 FIU STEM minority students. Although, the program has been in existence for only six years, a total of 75 internships have been conducted at DOE National Laboratories, DOE sites, DOE Headquarters and field offices, and DOE contractors. Over 100 DOE Fellows have participated in the Waste Management (WM) Symposia since 2008 with a total of 84 student posters and 7 oral presentations given at WM. The DOE Fellows participation at WM has resulted in three Best Student Poster Awards (WM09, WM10, and WM11) and one Best Professional Poster Award (WM09). DOE Fellows have also presented their research at ANS DD&R and ANS Robotics Topical meetings and this year two Fellows will present at the International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management (ICEM13) in Brussels, Belgium. Moreover, several of our DOE Fellows have already obtained employment with DOE-EM, other federal agencies, DOE contractors, commercial nuclear power companies, and other STEM industry (GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson, Beckman-Coulter, and other top companies). This paper will discuss how DOE Fellows program is training and mentoring FIU STEM students in Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management technical challenges and research. This training and mentoring has resulted in the development of well-trained and polished young scientists and engineers that will become the future workforce in charge of carrying on DOE-EM’s environmental cleanup mission. The paper will showcase FIU’s DOE Fellows model and highlight some of the applied research the DOE Fellows have conducted at FIU’s Applied Research Center and across the DOE Complex by participating in summer internship assignments.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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