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Two MSE Students Receive GATE Fellowships

The Materials Science and Engineering Department is pleased to announce that two of its PhD students have been awarded fellowships from the Graduate Advancement Training and Education (GATE) program, administered by the Science Alliance (  This highly distinguished fellowship supports a PhD student for AY 2020-2021, including a $30,000 stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance.  GATE fellowship awardees perform research affiliated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and participate in research symposia hosted by the Science Alliance.


Awardee information:

Yi Yang

Ms. Yi Yang is a PhD student working in Prof. Yanfei Gao’s research group and is collaborating with Dr. Zhili Feng, in the Materials Science and Technology Division at ORNL.  Her project is titled, “Evaluation of susceptibility to stress relaxation cracking and life prediction in type 347H stainless steel.”  Although 347H steel has been widely used as superheater and/or reheater pipes for oil refinery, fossil power plant, and nuclear energy systems, a major drawback is the stress relaxation cracking (SRC) and strain-aging cracking (SAC) resulting from the significant residual stresses and their evolutions during welding, post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) or long-term service (aging). Working with researchers from UT, ORNL, and Shell Chemical, Ms. Yang will combine advanced neutron diffraction techniques and modern failure simulation tools to reveal the key mechanisms and parameters that control and possibly mitigate this longstanding issue.


Sreya Paladugu

Ms. Sreya Paladugu is a PhD student working in Prof. Kate Page’s research group.  The title of her project is “Uncovering the Influence of Acid Gases: in situ Neutron Total Scattering Studies on Metal Oxide Nano catalysts.”  An important pillar of energy security is maintaining a wide variety of energy sources beyond crude oil, many of which will require new catalysts in order to integrate into the existing energy infrastructure. In parallel, many of these new feedstocks come from impure or low energy density sources and contain impurities such as SOx, NOx and H2S, known as acid gases. Exposure to these acid gases can poison the catalyst and lead to partial or complete degradation, impacting its catalytic efficiency. Through her research, Sreya seeks to elucidate the acid gas-induced structural evolution of various metal oxide nanoparticles through catalytic reactions, with the end goal of extracting design principles robust against degradation in acid gas mixtures.


Congratulations to both Yi and Sreya.