Mechanical Engineering grad student Lucia Coello Poole has received the Roy G. Post Foundation Scholarship given to students planning careers in the safe management of nuclear materials.
Coello Poole, along with 13 other grad students and 10 undergraduates, received the $5,000 scholarship at the WM Symposia on global radioactive waste management Feb. 28 in Phoenix.
“I feel extremely honored to be recognized for my hard work,” Coello Poole said. “Receiving this award is very special to me. But I did not win this award just by myself: this could (only) be achieved with the help and support of my advisor, Dr. Mustafa Hadj-Nacer. His advice and knowledge have been crucial to get me where I am today.”
She has been a research assistant in Hadj-Nacer’s research group since fall 2021. She is set to graduate in August and hopes to continue working in the field of nuclear packaging.
“This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to Lucia’s dedication and hard work,” Hadj-Nacer said. “Lucia’s success is a reflection of her outstanding qualities, such as her intelligence, perseverance and initiative. As a young and independent woman of strong character, she has set high goals for herself and is willing to work hard to achieve them. Her work ethic and determination have not gone unnoticed, and she has already made a significant impact in her research group.”
The group is working on developing wireless, powered sensing platforms for interrogating the internal conditions of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) canisters. It also is developing experimentally validated thermal models of the SNF canisters under storage and drying conditions. The overall goal of project Coello Poole is working on is to develop a sensing platform that can be integrated into a dry shielded canister to measure internal and external conditions and transmit the data wirelessly outside. Those canisters are currently the only long-term solution for the management of spent nuclear fuel, and it is crucial to monitor the condition inside them to ensure the safety of the public and environment.
It’s work that Coello Poole plans to pursue, thanks to the Post Foundation scholarship.
“It is not only a significant boost of confidence to reach my goals, it will impact my professional career by putting me in contact with the experts in this specific field,” Coello Poole said, “giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and create the important connections for my future.”