NRC fellowship program funds engineering grads

By Abraham Miller

If you like money, government benefits, guaranteed work for at least four years and nuclear radiation, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Fellowship Program is for you.

In its third year, the fellowship program has been providing funds for graduating undergraduates planning to further their education and eventually work in such areas as health physics, nuclear engineering, specialty engineering disciplines, materials science, materials engineering, metallurgy and artificial intelligence and expert systems for use in human factors.

To be eligible, students must be U.S. citizens, have received their bachelor’s degree by May or June 1994 and have completed the Graduate Records Examination. At time of application, applicants may not have completed ore than one year of graduate education in a discipline the NRC program supports.

Acceptance is based on academic performance, academic and professional references, a statement of career goals and if felt necessary, interviews.

Acceptants must work a minimum of nine months with the NRC before starting their graduate studies. While working, the future graduate students will be paid at a government GG-7 salary level of $33,000 to $35,000, plus full government benefits.

After working, they are placed on leave without pay to obtain their master’s degree. Fellows also must agree to work for four years after satisfactory completion of their master’s degree. At that time, they return with a promotion to a GG-9 starting salary level of $38,000 to $40,000.

The program pays full tuition, fees and books, along with stipends of $1,800 a month and a $5,000-per-year cost of education allowance paid to the academic program in which the student participates.

Annually, NRC awards five to 10 fellowships to prospective engineers. Yet, when asked for the number of applications received each year, program assistant, Rose Etta Cox replied that typically only 50 to 60 applications were received.

Cox expects the program will still be in existence several years from now. “Undergraduates should keep this program in mind for the future,” she said.

Along with the NRC fellowship, the Department of Energy is also offering a fellowship along the same lines. Interested individuals for either fellowship award should contact Rose Etta Cox at (615) 576-9279, Tom Richmond at (615) 576-219 or write to, NRC Fellowship Program, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Science/Engineering Education Division, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 37831-0117