Congratulations to new MS graduate student Adam Drescher for receiving the prestigious Cockrell School of Engineering $9K fellowship per year for four years. This fellowship, above the monthly stipend, is offered to high achieving undergraduate students to attract the best graduate students to the various engineering departments.

Adam, is completing his BS degree from the Department of Physics at the University of Texas where he took the Radiation Physics Option - a series of six courses in nuclear and radiation engineering given in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He begins in spring 2016 and will continue his work in the characterization of lanthanum bromide detectors for gamma-gamma coincidence measurements.

Congratulations to recently graduated Dr. Kenny Dayman who has accpeted a Postdoctoral Research Associate  position in the Nuclear Forensics Research in the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Kenny’s dissertation  Determination of Independent and Cumulative Fission Product Yields with Gamma Spectrometry was performed under Dr. Biegalski.  Kenny follows in the footsteps of Dr. Roger Kapsimalis  (2013) who has a staff position at ONRL also in nuclear forensics investigations.

Dr. Mitch Pryor, Research Scientist was invited to be part of the Workshop on Robotic Handling of High-Consequence Materials.  Hosted by the United States Department of Energy and the United States National Science Foundation, the Purdue Robotics Accelerator, in conjunction with the NSF Center for Robots and Sensors for the Human Well-Being, is conducting a National Robotics Initiative workshop and technology road mapping effort to study robotic handling of nuclear waste and the re-processing of military and civilian nuclear byproducts. In addition, the National Science Foundation is interested in expanding this effort to include general principles on the "science of safety" that may emerge from similar studies with the handling of biological pathogens and extra-planetary sample-return missions - other such "high-consequence materials". The workshop shop takes place in early December in Washington DC. Dr. Pryor is the Director of the Nuclear and Applied Robotics Laboratory and a staff member of the Nuclear and Engineering Teaching Lab.

Richard Lara, a senior in the Radiation Physics Option in the Physics Department and an undergraduate employee at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab, won second place for the poster competition at the MAES (Mexican American Engineers and Scientists) symposium held in Las Vegas October 14-17. MAES is the foremost Latino organization for the development of STEM leaders in the academic, executive, and technical communities bringing together hundreds of students and professionals seeking employment and advancement opportunities. Richard’s poster was on “Using Non-Destructive Neutron Activation Analysis to Effectively Determine 235,238U, 40K and 232Th in Various Matrices with Sub-Gram Quantities of Material.”

Dr. Landsberger receives a gift for recognition for presenting five lectures at the International Atomic Energy Agency Interregional Workshop on Good Practices on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) Residues and Waste held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 19-23, 2015. Dr. Landsberger was one of three international experts making presentations to participants from Malaysia and 26 other countries. He presented five lectures on the safe handling and characterization of radioactive waste from the oil and gas exploration sector. His lectures included NORM in Oil and Gas Exploration; Radiological, Monitoring and Analytical Aspects of NORM; Decontamination of Equipment; Occupational Protection; and Assessing Radiation Dose from NORM through Modelling.

Rachel Morneau (left), Birdy Phathanapirom (center) and Maggie Byers (right) attended Global 2015: 21st International Conference and Exhibition: "Nuclear Fuel Cycle for a Low-Carbon Future held in Paris, France in September. Rachel gave a presentation on "Potential Benefits of Energy Storage Using Texas as Case Study", Birdy gave presentation on "A Method for Hedging Against Uncertainties in Nuclear Futures", while Maggie spoke on "Sensitivity of Seawater Uranium Cost to System and Design Parameters". This major international conference was organized by the Société Francaise d’Energie Nucléaire and sponsored by the American Nuclear Society (ANS), Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ) and Korean Nuclear Society (KNS) and in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS), Chinese Nuclear Society (CNS) and European Nuclear Society (ENS).

WoMEn on the Move

This past year has seen a significant number of women who had an impact in the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering program at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Franziska Klingberg

Franziska Klingberg who received her PhD (Dr. Steven Biegalski, supervisor) in May 2015 has already received a staff position as a Radionuclide Analyst at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization  (CTBTO) in Vienna, Austria (  The Treaty has a unique and comprehensive verification regime to make sure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected.  The four technical areas include seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide.


Bonnie CanionIn March Bonnie Canion successfully defended her PhD dissertation Incorporation of Photon Analysis into an Active Interrogation System for Shielded Uranium Characterization in March. Her work was conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab under the supervision of Drs Sheldon Landsberger (UT Austin) and Seth McConchie (ORNL). She will be working in Washington DC at the NNSA headquarters until May.





Urairisa PhathanapiromUrairisa (Birdy) Phathanapirom received 1st place in the Open Competition in the Energy Policy subject area, for which there's a cash prize of $3000. Her submitted paper was "Hedging Against Uncertainty in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle," which was accepted and presented at the International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management conference in Charleston, SC. Part of the award is presenting follow-on work at the upcoming American Nuclear Society Winter conference in Washington DC in a special session, with travel funded through the same program. Birdy has completed he MS with Dr. Erich Schneider and is continuing with her PhD.




Rachel MourneauRachel Mourneau, PhD student for Dr. Erich Schneider, is completing her dissertation work at Los Alamos National Lab. Her PhD research focuses on design modifications to nuclear reactors which increase their proliferation resistance by making their used fuel harder to use in a nuclear weapon."





Meredith Pitsch, first year MS student in the Nuclear Robotics Program received a nine-month Cockrell School of Engineering fellowship as well as the $9K/year fellowship for 4 years.  Meredith jump-started her research by beginning this summer with Dr. Mitch Pryor.





Undergraduate students Mallory Sico (left) and Emily Crowell-Stevens (right) attended the Maymester study abroad program at the Technical Institute of Delft, Netherlands. The Concepts in Nuclear and Radiation Engineering course taught for nineteen Cockrell School of Engineering and Department of Physics undergraduates was given by Dr. Sheldon Landsberger for the 4th year, Besides lectures and laboratories held at the Delft research reactor there was a visit to the Belgium Research Center (SCK-CEN Academy) in Mol.. The field trip also included a visit to an experimental underground radioactive waste facility some 200 meters below the earth’s surface.

Anthony ScopatzJoe GrahamMany congratulations to Anthony Scopatz and Joseph Graham in accepting academic positions as Assistant Professors. Anthony Scopatz (left) who received his PhD in 2011 has accepted a position in the Nuclear Engineering Program in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.  Anthony expertise is in computational nuclear fuel cycle and reactor analysis.  Joseph Graham (right) who received his PhD in 2013 has accepted a position in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Missouri University of Science, Rolla.  Joseph’s expertise is in radiation damage of materials in both the experimental and computational areas.

Adam AllevatoMatthew HornCongratulations to Adam Allevato (left) and Matthew Horn (right) both MS students in the Nuclear and Applied Robotics program ( who each received the very prestigious award from Department of Energy’s Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP). Each fellowship has funding of $150,000 for three years which includes a monthly stipend, tuition and fees. Only 32 fellowships from twenty-one universities were awarded to graduate students across the USA. Both Adam and Matthew wrote applications in the development of robotics for the handling of special nuclear materials to be eventually deployed at Los Alamos National Lab. Development of these systems will done at the University of Texas under the direction of Mitch Pryor.

Other Research Opportunities


Materials Engineering
The Materials Science and Engineering , MSE is a major technical area within the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin and there are close research collaborations in various research projects using the facilities at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab. Visit Materials Engineering

Operations Research/Industrial Engineering
The Operations Research Group/Industrial Engineering (ORI), is a major technical area within the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin and there are close research collaborations in optimal decision making and the modeling of deterministic and probabilistic systems.
Visit Operations Research/Industrial Engineering