Samantha Lawrence

Purdue University

The chance to pursue research important to national defense drew Samantha Lawrence to the DOE NNSA SSGF, and after graduation she hopes to work in a DOE laboratory. But ultimately, Lawrence has a different goal in mind: to operate a small business focused on mitigating materials reliability issues.

The fellowship allows that kind of flexibility, even as it focuses on “developing highly trained scientists and engineers who will be leaders with expertise in stewardship science,” says Lawrence, a doctoral student at Purdue University.

That versatility also is founded in the breadth of subjects that fall under the stewardship science umbrella. It was only after meeting alumni and other fellows at the annual program review, Lawrence says, that she began to grasp the wide variety of issues involved.

Like many other fellows, Lawrence found her research pushed in a different direction after a summer practicum at Sandia National Laboratories’ California campus.

“I was able add a new field to my investigation of materials under extreme conditions, she says, and it “also provided me with additional career opportunities: I was able to work with a new group of researchers I can collaborate with after graduation.”