Nuclear Engineering Student Selected As Awardee of an NSF Graduate Fellowship

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the recipients of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award. One of our NE graduate students, Andy Rivas, was among the awardees.

Andy began his college career at the University of Florida (UF) majoring in nuclear engineering with a minor in electrical engineering. He pursued this path to be a part of the solution “to meet the world’s everyday energy demand, but not have to harm the environment to do so”. After Andy earned his BS, he decided to pursue a PhD at NCSU.  He set out to research how to make the nuclear generation cycle more efficient with the use of modeling and simulation tools and techniques.

Throughout his undergraduate tenure, Andy sought various research opportunities including a stint performing experimental work with Dr. Leigh Winfrey (NCSU ‘10), as well as the Gateway for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (GAMeS) Lab and an internship at Savannah River National Laboratory. Andy was also actively involved in extracurricular activities. He held leadership positions in both the Society of Hispanic Engineers and the University of Florida Power and Energy Club. He also served as a tutor for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and a Karate instructor.

“I feel so incredibly honored and humbled to be awarded the NSF GRFP award. This fellowship will allow me to continue pursuing my interests in advancing nuclear technology for a carbon free future. Being selected shows that if one perseveres and never surrenders their goals, then they will be able to achieve them. What defines a person is not their successes, but the adversity they had to overcome to achieve those successes. For me, this was made possible not only by my hard work but also the wonderful academic and family support system that I am blessed to have.”

Andy is currently a member of the Reactor Dynamics and Fuel Modeling Group (RDFMG), advised by Dr. Jason Hou.

Launched in 1952, the GRFP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind. It supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing Ph.D. or research-based master’s degrees. Fellows receive a three-year stipend, coverage of tuition and fees, and opportunities for international research and professional development.