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Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering students Hunter Andrews and Justin Bresson.
Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering students Hunter Andrews and Justin Bresson.

Hunter Andrews and Justin Bresson recognized in the 2018 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards

Two students in VCU’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering have received awards in the 2018 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Ph.D. student Hunter Andrews’ award-winning research paper, “Development of an Experimental Routine for Electrochemical and Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Composition Measurements of LiCl-KCl Eutectic Salts,” was also presented at the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference in April 2018. His adviser is Supathorn Phongikaroon, Ph.D., associate professor and VCU’s director of nuclear engineering.

“Under Dr. Phongikaroon’s mentorship, I have been guided to think critically of various methods for innovation,” Andrews said. “Our conversations foster creative thinking, and I credit my research development to that.”

Justin Bresson, currently a sophomore, was awarded a prize in the undergraduate competition for “Half-life Estimation by Statistical Sampling.” Bresson’s research paper was also presented at the ANS Student Conference in April 2018. His advisers were Braden Goddard, Ph.D., assistant professor of nuclear engineering at VCU, and George Hitt, Ph.D., assistant professor of nuclear engineering at Coastal Carolina University.

"Our research is important because it provides improvements on the standard method. It is necessary that we continue to innovate instead of settling for techniques or methods that are only adequate,” Bresson said. “I am personally thankful for this award because it recognizes the contributions a person can make even as a young undergraduate and it allows me to continue pursuing my own research."