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UW Student Receives DOE Graduate Student Research Program Award

April 12, 2019
head portrait of a man
Hunter Brown, a second-year Ph.D. student from Juneau, Alaska, majoring in atmospheric science at UW, is the recipient of a DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program Award. His research focuses on improving how forest fire smoke is represented in climate models. (Martha Inouye Photo)

A University of Wyoming student will have an opportunity to continue his research that focuses on improving how forest fire smoke is represented in climate models.

Hunter Brown, a second-year Ph.D. student from Juneau, Alaska, majoring in atmospheric science, is the recipient of a Department of Education (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program Award. He will conduct his research fellowship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., from September through December this year.

The goal of the SCGSR program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories. In all, 70 students from 52 U.S. universities received SCGSR awards this year.

“I am honored and excited to be considered for this award. It provides a unique opportunity for me to further my understanding of global climate models through collaboration with some of the world’s pre-eminent modeling scientists,” Brown says. “I also look forward to contributing something to these models, helping to create a more detailed picture of how smoke in our atmosphere plays a role in global and regional climate.”

The SCGSR program provides supplemental funds for graduate students to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. Collaborating DOE laboratory scientists may be from any of the participating DOE national laboratories/facilities.

The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories/facilities may range from three to 12 consecutive months. The award offers up to a $3,000 monthly stipend for general living expenses, plus refunds for related travel, Brown says. The DOE Office of Science provides the funding for the program.

“Hunter has been doing solid and impactful work in his graduate research, which has improved the simulations and predictions of Earth system models,” says Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science Xiaohong Liu, a UW professor of atmospheric science and Brown’s faculty adviser.

“These graduate student awards prepare young scientists for STEM careers critically important to the DOE mission,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “We are proud of the accomplishments these outstanding awardees have already made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come. They represent the future leadership and innovation that will allow American science and engineering to excel in the 21st century.”

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