John-Paul Stroud is originally from Portland, Oregon but moved to Nampa, Idaho in 2004. He has been living in the Treasure Valley ever since. JP attended Renaissance High School in Meridian on the advice of a former teacher. He was hoping to take some interesting and compelling physics courses. Soon after enrolling, John-Paul realized that engineering and biology were the subjects that were most fascinating to him.
JP’s father, who has an interest in materials science, recognized JP’s potential in the engineering field. He began taking JP to research seminars to help develop further interest. With his father’s encouragement and by attending these seminars, JP learned more about materials science and engineering. He had found his field of interest. JP applied for admission to Boise State and is now enrolled in the materials science and engineering program. JP was happy to remain in Boise, a city he fully enjoys. Additionally, he was certain that the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE) would offer excellent career advancement opportunities.
One of the highlights of the materials science and engineering program at Boise State is the opportunity for undergraduates to become immersed in the materials science world. Faculty make a point of working closely with students. Undergrads have a unique opportunity to work in a lab with a research group. These important experiences facilitate students’ advancement into the materials science industry.
Hands-On Research Opportunities Lead to Success
John-Paul had the fabulous opportunity to work in the Advanced Materials Laboratory while completing his Bachelor of Science. He participated in a variety of research projects, which allowed him to gain significant experience on topics ranging from corrosion to identifying unknown compounds created thousands of years ago.
One of JP’s research projects focused on corrosion and the development of corrosion-resistant sensors for navy and air force aircraft. He also worked on the synthesis of nitrites and nuclear fuel for the advanced fuel cycle initiative. This initiative is supported by the Department of Energy and allows researchers to focus on expanding clean, economical, and sustainable nuclear energy. He performed characterization work on zirconium alloys, which are used in nuclear reactors. They act as a barrier between nuclear fuel and coolant, keeping the entire system safe and secure. JP’s research focused on reducing oxidation in these alloys in order to maximize reactor performance. He hopes his research increases the tolerance for failure of these materials in case of nuclear accidents. In a separate project, JP conducted research to identify the materials used to create an unknown purple pigment found on an ancient mummy portrait.
Internships Make a Difference!
To further develop his expertise in materials science, John-Paul interned at the Idaho National Laboratory. He focused on the preparation of irradiated materials with the goal of improving their quality and safety.
JP helped develop a sample preparation method for a process called Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD.) EBSD uses electron beams to detect texture, grain size, orientation, defects, and other information about crystallized structures in relation to irradiated fuel cladding in nuclear reactors. When a sample is irradiated, the entire process becomes hazardous and creates more waste that must be disposed of responsibly. A possible alternative is to use argon ions to polish the sample’s surface. This method may promote cleaner results from experiments. JP’s goal during this internship was to optimize the argon polishing process for nuclear reactor cladding samples. This process could mean safer conditions within reactors and may even extend the life of current nuclear reactors.
John-Paul continued his internship journey at Tescan, an electron microscope manufacturer, over the Summer 2017. This internship was a great opportunity to conduct research using state-of-the-art scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) at the Tescan Applications Lab in the Czech Republic.
What is JP Up to Now?
JP graduated from Boise State with a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering in Spring 2017. His goal is to continue developing his expertise with an advanced degree. He was accepted to UC Davis in Fall 2017 to pursue his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. Congratulations, JP!
What Can YOU Accomplish in Materials Science and Engineering?
What can YOU do to accomplish great things in materials science and engineering? JP recommends that students get to know faculty and classmates. “One of the great benefits of the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering is that the program is relatively small,” says JP. “It allows undergraduates hands-on research opportunities that may not be available at other schools. Reach out to faculty who are conducting research on campus as soon as you can and you’ll be able to gain a lot of experience.”
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