Two graduate students recognized by the Department of Energy

Stanford graduate students ALEX MILTENBERGER and PRIYANKA MUHUNTHAN are among 78 students who have been selected for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program. This award supports graduate thesis research conducted at a DOE laboratory or facility that addresses scientific challenges central to the Office of Science mission.

Alex Miltenberger and Priyanka Muhunthan. (Image credit: Courtesy of Alex Miltenberger/ Priyanka Muhunthan)

With this award, Miltenberger, a graduate student in geophysics, will conduct research at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab with staff scientist Haruko Murakami-Wainwright. Their work involves studying how snowmelt in mountainous regions enters the ground, where it goes once it is in the ground and how it affects groundwater discharge into streams.

“Haruko was an incredible mentor during my short internship at LBNL last summer, and I can’t thank her and my PhD supervisor, Professor TAPAN MUKERJI, enough for supporting me in this endeavor,” said Miltenberger.

Muhunthan, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, will head to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to study the behavior of supercritical fluid – fluid pushed to a temperature and pressure where it has properties of both a gas and a liquid. Supercritical fluids are relevant to many areas of research, including propulsion systems, planetary environments, and carbon capture and sequestration.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor MATTHIAS IHME at Stanford and DIMOSTHENIS SOKARAS at SLAC for their sound scientific advice, mentoring and constant encouragement during my research,” said Muhunthan. “Working with the X-ray physics community will enable me to translate my results into solving important engineering problems, such as climate change, and contribute to the DOE mission of addressing energy and environmental challenges.”

Including Miltenberger and Muhunthan, eight Stanford graduate students have been selected for the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program since the program began in 2014.