Brian Puckett, a doctoral student in architectural engineering, has been chosen to receive a U.S. Department of Energy Rickover Fellowship in Nuclear Engineering.
By receiving the fellowship, Puckett will have tuition and fees covered for the remaining years of his doctoral pursuit, will earn a stipend, and is scheduled to work for the Department of Energy in the summers of 2020 and 2021.
Also, Puckett said he expects to work for the DOE for “a couple of years” after completing his doctoral work.
“This is huge for me. I couldn’t really believe it, honestly, especially how quickly they got back to me,” Puckett said. “It’s such a relief knowing that I have secured funding for my schooling and that I’ll have employment after graduation. Those are things I worried about and my parents worried about.”
Recipients of the Rickover Fellowship carry out their research in one of two DOE laboratories – the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory near Albany, New York, or the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Though the fellowship comes from the field of nuclear engineering, Puckett’s research interests fall in one of the “qualified academic areas” – acoustic technology.
Puckett, who is advised by Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, said he’s still getting acclimated to studying acoustical engineering, but it’s something he’s been looking forward to for a few years.
After graduating high school, Puckett obtained a physics degree from Hastings College before enrolling in the College of Engineering’s architectural engineering program.
“I’m in the first year of my Ph.D. work now, studying industrial noise – trying to control sound from machinery and equipment,” Puckett said. “I have always wanted to be an engineer. There are so many opportunities open in these fields and acoustics was something I grew interested in near the end of high school.
“I don’t know where this career is going to lead me, but I’m excited for the future.”
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