NNSA expands Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program

November 24, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded nine grants totaling $38.8 million to build more partnerships with minority-serving institutions (MSIs), leverage untapped students, and expand its talent pipeline. Known as the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP), it now has 24 active consortia partnerships encompassing 46 schools.

The NNSA noted that the program is designed to support the development of a diverse, highly skilled, and enduring stream of talented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields who are working to advance the nation’s nuclear security agenda. Through its support of MSIs, MSIPP provides competitive, consortia-based grant awards with a three- to five-year period of performance, according to the NNSA.

New grants: The new MSIPP consortia, which put students in MSIs around the nation to work in DOE/NNSA laboratories, plants, and sites, are as follows:

  • The Advanced Synergistic Program for Indigenous Research in Engineering, led by Turtle Mountain Community College, includes partnerships with the United Tribes Community College, the Kansas City National Security Campus, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. It focuses on creating engineering pathways for students to begin their careers at an NNSA lab, plant, or site, or as a professional engineer in their community.
  • The Consortium for Advanced Additive Manufacturing Research and Education for Energy Related Systems, led by the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley, partnered with the University of Texas–San Antonio, the University of Arizona, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It focuses on recruiting and training students from underrepresented groups for careers in advanced manufacturing.
  • The Consortium for Research and Education in Power and Energy Systems for Sustainable STEM Workforce, led by Florida International University, partnered with Alabama A&M University, the University of Texas at El Paso, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories to focus on developing a sustainable STEM workforce from minorities and underrepresented groups by providing an innovative research and educational platform at the intersection of legacy power system analysis, nuclear engineering, and cyber-physical systems.
  • The Integrated Additive Manufacturing–Establishing Minority Pathways: Opportunities for Workforce Development in Energy Research and Education is led by Florida A&M University. It partnered with Benedict College, the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Kansas City National Security Campus, and the Y-12 National Security Campus. The consortium focuses on developing interconnected cyber additive manufacturing planning and control through the DOE/NNSA’s energy/device-related processing and additive manufacturing and fostering student enrichment programs through collaborative research at a DOE/NNSA lab.
  • The Consortium for Research and Education in Materials Science and Photonics Engineering, led by Norfolk State University, partnered with Elizabeth City State University, Virginia State University, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to focus on building the partnering institutions’ capacity to perform research and educate students in areas of materials science and photonic engineering relevant to the nuclear security enterprise.
  • The Nuclear Security Science and Technology Consortium, led by the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of New Mexico, Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Nevada National Security Site. Its focus is on encouraging minority students to excel in STEM by providing them with practical experience and training in nuclear security through research projects and experiential learning. It brings an awareness of DOE/NNSA labs to academic institutions with a common interest in STEM topics; promotes scientist-to-scientist interactions between the academic community and the labs and sites; and enlarges the scientific and technical knowledge and resource base of MSIs in the nuclear security area.
  • The Partnership for Advanced Manufacturing Education, led by Navajo Technical University, partnered with Nebraska Indian Community College, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, the University of Texas–El Paso, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. It focuses on increasing the enrollment of American Indian students in STEM disciplines of interest to the DOE/NNSA enterprise and conducting collaborative advanced manufacturing research to strengthen and expand Tribal college and university capacity and research experiences in support of the DOE/NNSA’s mission.

Renewed grants: The NNSA also renewed awards for the following:

  • The Consortium for High Energy Density Science, led by Florida A&M University, partnered with the University of California–Merced, Morehouse College, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to focus on enhancing educational opportunities in high energy density (HED) science. It will develop and make available an enhanced HED science curriculum for all partner institutions; expand research collaborations in HED science between DOE/NNSA scientists, faculty, and students at partnering MSIs; and increase awareness of research careers in HED science by the nation’s future workforce.
  • The Partnership for Research and Education Consortium in Ceramics and Polymers, led by the University of Texas–El Paso, partnered with Florida International University, Tennessee State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Kansas City National Security Campus. The consortium focuses on developing and sustaining a pipeline of diverse, highly trained workforce, and a community of technical peers with a focus in material science and additive manufacturing for the DOE/NNSA’s core mission.

According to the DOE, each consortium conducts research that is critical for the future of the nuclear security enterprise, and the expansion of the MSIPP is key to cultivating talented STEM students throughout the enterprise and developing a diverse, highly skilled workforce committed to the security of the nation.

Quote: “MSIPP’s expansion means more students are able to gain experience with the nuclear security enterprise, which can make a lasting impact on their academic and professional careers,” said Jill Hruby, NNSA’ administrator and undersecretary for nuclear security. “This year, despite the pandemic, we were able to host over 200 student internships across the enterprise. Our strong partnerships with these schools remain key components for supporting and expanding our STEM pipeline.”

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