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School of Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering Doctoral Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarships 

African American woman headshot. She is wearing a blue blouse, her hair is parted in the middle and tied back. She has glasses and brown eyes.

Nedgine Joseph, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), is the recipient of three coveted awards: the Corning Glass Age Scholarship; the GEM Fellowship; and a Rutgers Dean’s Fellowship to Broaden Participation.  

“The MSE department is extremely proud of Nedgine Joseph’s achievements,” says MSE distinguished professor and department chair Lisa Klein. “We continue to attract outstanding graduate students with an interest in glass research, because of our balance of experimental and computational materials science, and our connections to industry.” 

According to Joseph, nuclear waste disposal is a major challenge facing the nuclear energy field, with vitrification being the primary method for waste immobilization. Her interest in this field led her to the School of Engineering to work under MSE professor Ashutosh Goel, a leading glass scientist with a wealth of experience in nuclear waste vitrification. 

“Nedgine joined my research group in the fall of 2022,” recalls Goel. “A multi-talented engineer, she is focusing her research efforts on glass science and technology.” 

Joseph brings hands-on experience to her research, having interned at Idaho National Lab, where she explored the impact of irradiation on nuclear fuel rods. “This experience sparked my curiosity about the fundamental aspects of nuclear fission, particularly fuel production mechanisms, and prompted me to join Brookhaven National Lab as a Science Undergraduate Laboratory intern.” 

It was at Brookhaven that the University of Florida student became interested in nuclear waste management.  

Support from National and University Awards 

Prestigious National GEM Consortium Fellowships provide financial support to underrepresented groups in physical and life sciences, and engineering. Joseph’s fellowship gave her the chance to work as a material characterization intern at The Aerospace Corporation. “These diverse internship experiences have been pivotal in shaping my current academic path,” she states. 

Awarded each year to one student, the Corning Glass Age Scholarship has given Joseph an opportunity to work with Corning scientists in glass science research, while Joseph’s competitive Rutgers Dean’s Fellowship to Broaden Participation not only provides funding, but offers a program of professional development and social activities supportive of a diverse, multi-disciplinary community. 

“I am genuinely humbled to receive these honors,” says Joseph. “My parents immigrated to the United States and made numerous sacrifices to provide me with the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree. These scholarships and any successes I achieve in life serve as a testament to their sacrifices and unwavering support.” 

By alleviating financial burdens, Joseph reports, the awards “will allow me to dedicate more time and resources to conducting comprehensive research, presenting my findings at conferences, and submitting impactful research to journals.” 

Ultimately, she aims to enter industry, where she hopes to continue to tackle the many challenges facing glass scientists and leverage glass in practical applications such as tissue engineering.  

“What captivates me most about glass science is glass’ remarkable versatility,” Joseph explains. “Glass finds utility in nuclear vitrification, tissue engineering, cosmetics, electronics, and more. The possibility for exploring new research avenues in this domain is endless.”