Six GEM fellows are working as paid interns at Idaho National Laboratory this summer.

The National GEM Consortium’s mission is to increase the involvement of underrepresented groups pursing a master’s degree or a doctorate in science and engineering, “exposing these hidden gems to various leading institutions in the United States,” INL said in a news release. The six fellows started at INL in June.

“The program is designed to identify, recruit and bring underrepresented talent to STEM,” said Terrence Buck, an INL senior inclusion and diversity consultant who has been a GEM board member for 15 years and manages the program at the lab. “The three most underrepresented groups are blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. By recruiting these GEM Fellows to INL, we are providing them real hands-on experience at a leading research institution. Ultimately, we would like to see these experiences translate into full-time positions here at INL.”

Four of the fellows are pursuing doctorate degrees: Jordan Galloway, who is studying chemistry at the University of California, Merced; Stephanie Jones, who is studying computer science at Northwestern University; Diana Perales, who is studying chemistry at Purdue University; and Jorge Ramirez, studying materials science at Purdue. Two are getting master’s degrees: Denise Owusu, who is studying energy engineering and technology innovation management at Carnegie Mellon University; and Malik Hayes, studying computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Galloway and Owusu are exploring and identifying requirements and constraints of siting conceptual small, scalable reactor systems, the lab said. Hayes is helping create and populate a data repository for energy infrastructure vulnerability test results.

Jones is researching data on components of critical energy infrastructure to add to current research on potential computer vulnerabilities. Perales is working with one of INL’s mass spectometry experts to improve nuclear fuel characterization techniques, and Ramirez is working on the Fast Reactor structural project to increase available materials use in high-temperature nuclear plant construction.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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