portrait of Natalie Kot and Julian Kinney

NERS undergrads receive internships at DOE National Laboratories

Natalie Kot and Julian Kinney will intern at DIII-D and LANL.

Natalie Kot and Julian Kinney, undergraduate students in the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences, have received US Department of Energy (DOE) internships that aim to connect talented science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students with world-class resources at DOE’s National Laboratories.

Natalie and Julian will work directly with National Lab scientists and engineers this summer on research and technology projects that support DOE’s missions. The awards are administered through the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program through DOE’s Office of Science.

“By investing in STEM students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, we can ignite the most creative and innovative ideas to solve our biggest problems and maximize our competitiveness,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE and the Biden Administration are committed to nurturing a skilled workforce that looks like America, and these awards will help us prepare rising stars everywhere to dream up the very best solutions for our nation and our people.”

portrait of Natalie Kot
Natalie Kot

“Because it is run by the DOE, this scholarship is very competitive, and receiving it has raised my confidence in my abilities as a student,” said Natalie.

Natalie’s internship is at DIII-D in San Diego, CA, where she will look into magnetic perturbation coil sets within the tokamak. “I will be using Python and Fortran to compare new coil sets to existing sets in order to model if the proposed designs will be applicable for certain experiments at a later time,” she said. At NERS, Natalie is currently researching with Professor Baalrud on atmospheric pressure plasmas, specifically modeling said plasmas using a Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS). 

Natalie is a member of Blue Lab Thailand, where she works on flood mitigation prototypes, and she’s also a general member of the Polish Student Association. She’s a huge basketball fan and has played the sport for almost her entire life. She also loves rollerblading and reading. After completing her education, Natalie hopes to eventually work on ITER in France.

“I would like to thank Darryl Koch and the entire MSTEM staff, Michelle Sonderman, Professor Gilgenbach, and Professor Baalrud for supporting me as a student in NERS,” said Natalie.

portrait of Julian Kinney
Julian Kinney

“I am very grateful to have received this internship,” said Julian.

Julian’s internship is at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he will help the Double Shell Inertial Confinement Fusion Team and work on another experiment being done on the Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford. 

Julian was first introduced to NERS research while running computer simulations for Dr. Kuranz’s Laboratory Astrophysics group. The experience exposed him to many of the basics of high-energy-density physics (HEDP) and shock wave experiments.

At U-M, Julian is on the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment (MiTEE) research team. “MDP is an awesome resource that I wish I took advantage of sooner,” Julian said.

When Julian first came to U-M, he wanted to be a writer, but after taking an astronomy course his freshman year he decided to transfer to engineering and eventually NERS. He still enjoys reading and writes in his free time. “One of my favorite science fiction books is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which details the decline of a Galactic Empire whose power is based largely on having advanced nuclear technology,” Julian said. “Only time will tell how prophetic that vision was.”

“I really want to go to graduate school to get a PhD, but I would also one day like to start my own political party,” Julian said. “If the political ambitions don’t pan out I will definitely attempt to write an awe-inspiring science fiction trilogy.”

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