Michelle Hiebert ’15 is among a handful of students from across the nation chosen by the American Chemical Society to participate in an intensive nuclear chemistry summer school.
Michelle Hiebert ’15, Butte, Mont., is among a handful of students from across the nation chosen by the American Chemical Society to participate in an intensive nuclear chemistry summer school.
Hiebert will join 11 other students for six weeks of classroom study and lab research starting in June at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The summer school is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition to earning six credits, Hiebert receives a $4,000 stipend and all tuition, fees, travel, housing, books and laboratory expenses are paid. Hiebert will also gain assistance in securing another fellowship next summer at a university or federal research institution to extend her studies.
“This is a very selective program,” says Hiebert. “I had no idea I would get in, but I love chemistry and I want to learn it all. I’m thrilled to be accepted.”
While still in first grade, Hiebert dedicated herself to becoming a physician, following the path of an aunt who graduated from Concordia. Research in nuclear chemistry may seem a diversion from her goal, but Hiebert thinks learning any branch of chemistry will help her.
“All science is good,” she says. “I love learning new things, and because of this fellowship I may become interested in nuclear medicine.”
Hiebert attributes her success in landing the fellowship to being a well-rounded individual. She participates in Science Academy, is a Bible study leader on campus and is active in Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. Drew Rutherford, associate professor of chemistry, sponsored Hiebert’s application and says the fellowship is a compliment to her abilities.
“She’s an excellent student who has a love of learning and the wonder of discovery,” he says. “As a teacher, it’s a joy to help students understand how talented they are and help them go on to do good things.”
The course will include lectures on the fundamentals of nuclear science, and students will work with state-of-the-art lab equipment that is used in applied nuclear science research. The students will tour research centers and DOE labs, and interact with scientists working in nuclear and radiochemistry, nuclear medicine, nuclear forensics and related fields.