Kiyo Fujimoto was born and raised in Idaho. She began her pursuit of higher education right here at Boise State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2016 and then recognized that an even higher level of education would greatly contribute to her future success. Kiyo’s ultimate career goal is to help create a greener world. Now that she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering and is a member of Dr. Dave Estrada’s Advanced Nanomaterials and Manufacturing Laboratory team, Kiyo’s goal is becoming reality.
A Vision for the Future
“I envision a world where individuals are able to come together to preserve the Earth’s natural resources to ensure that current and future generations have access to clean air and water,” Kiyo says. She plans to pursue a career as a research scientist so she can influence technological developments that will improve methods of producing energy for worldwide consumption.
Fellowships Provide Real World Experiences
Kiyo recently received a prestigious fellowship from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the nation’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory. Through this fellowship program, INL introduces students to the laboratory and allows them the opportunity to conduct research to fulfill thesis requirements. The benefits are significant for all who are involved. INL receives skilled researchers and cultivates long-term collaborations with universities while students receive valuable research experience in a real-world environment. Boise State and INL collaborate on joint publications and intellectual property developed through the fellowship program.
Kiyo’s research focuses on the use of additive manufacturing techniques such as aerosol jet or 3D printing. Using these methods of printing allows researchers to develop advanced sensors that can remotely track real-time data within a nuclear reactor. Reactors operate at extremely high heat that can damage or destroy sensor equipment. Remote sensors that withstand these extreme conditions can safely monitor a reactor’s performance from any location. Solutions like this address technology gaps as the nuclear industry moves from analog to digital technology. They can also reduce the cost associated with maintaining older nuclear energy systems. “Kiyo Fuijimoto is most deserving of this prestigious award,” said Dr. Estrada “Her success comes as no surprise to those who know and work with Ms. Fujimoto. She is an excellent researcher who has taken a lead on the Boise State campus to establish additive manufacturing as a method to develop advanced sensors for extreme environments.”
Kiyo’s INL fellowship allows her to focus on the coursework necessary to contribute to hands-on research. Once coursework is completed, she will carry out the final two years of her research in-residence at INL in Idaho Falls. The fellowship pays her tuition during these two years, plus a $60,000 annual salary. The opportunity to work on-site at a nuclear research facility allows Kiyo to collaborate with like-minded researchers to reach common goals. “With this kind of collaboration, my graduate experience will be one-of-a-kind,” Kiyo says. The INL fellowship is the second award Kiyo has received for her research in the energy sector.
In 2016, Kiyo’s doctoral project was selected for a three-year fellowship from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP). She was one of only 32 engineering and science graduate students nationwide to be selected for the prestigious fellowship that year. The award provides $50,000 per year, plus $5,000 toward a summer internship at a U.S. national lab. This NEUP Fellowship helped Kiyo build a solid research foundation that she continues to develop through her current INL fellowship.
Support Networks Make a Difference
Kiyo expresses gratitude toward the faculty and staff at Boise State. “I am so very grateful for the professors and administrators in the Department of Chemistry and the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering who have presented me with life-changing opportunities. Their support gives me the confidence to do things I did not think I was capable of doing.” Kiyo’s family also encourages her to reach further to meet her career goals. “My family provides an incredible amount of support and encouragement and I would not be here if that was not the case. I am so very thankful for the people in my life and for the empowerment I receive on a daily basis,” she says.