From Undergrad Coursework to Savannah River National Laboratory
AIKEN, S.C. – Alexis Andaverde recently joined the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) full time as an EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (EM MSIPP) graduate fellow in the Advanced Modeling and Simulation group.
Andaverde has ambitious intentions for his SRNL fellowship. His work at the laboratory consists of modeling and simulation of nuclear waste deposits. The graduate fellow creates a current state of the process in simulation software and then optimizes the system to dispose of nuclear waste as efficiently as possible.
“I plan to improve my modeling and simulation skills. Travel to other national labs and see their process. Understand what it really is to work at a national lab and create a strong network of connections for my career in academia and industry,” Andaverde said. “The type of work that I could contribute here was very exciting since it is what I studied in my undergrad and relates to my current thesis work.”
The EM MSIPP graduate fellowship program provides a one-of-a-kind experience for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students to develop their careers. The program provides students from minority serving institutions an opportunity to gain specialized training in targeted technical areas of interest and need in the EM workforce. These areas include soil and groundwater, deactivation and decommissioning, tank waste processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and climate change.
In less than a month at SRNL, Andaverde has made a positive impression.
“Alexis is ambitious, driven and determined to deliver on the assignments and make a career,” said Adrian Mistreanu, the Advanced Modeling and Simulation group leader. “He knows when to say ‘no,’ and is willing to take extra assignments. He goes to the bottom of the problem and pays attention to the details.”
The graduate fellowship provides leadership development, networking and hands-on EM field experience that could lead to a career opportunity within the DOE complex.
“I do see the DOE as an amazing opportunity to make a valuable impact and gain very useful experience, so I would be open to staying on,” Andaverde said.
He was recently recognized alongside 11 other EM MSIPP graduate fellows during the 2023 EM MSIPP Achievement Workshop. The scholars will work as full-time employees at select EM sites for at least a year.
Born to migrant workers in south Texas on the border with Mexico, Andaverde was raised in Indiana. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering at Texas State University and currently attends the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he is earning a master’s degree in engineering management. Andaverde plans to begin work on his doctorate in the fall.
-Contributor: Tammy Newman
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