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The Engineering Council Awards Committee recently has chosen four NPRE undergraduates as Engineers of the Week.
The student organization bestows the title to one or two College of Engineering juniors or seniors every week to give the students an opportunity to highlight their achievements to peers. Each student is showcased professionally with a poster hung in Engineering Hall.
The NPRE students are seniors Valentyn Bykov of Kiev, Ukraine; Peter Fiflis of Indian Head Park, Illinois; Leigh Ann Kesler of Fisher, Illinois; and Cody A. Morrow of Springfield, Illinois.
Bykov serves as president of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) student chapter. He also is a member of the Illinois Space Society student organization, and enjoys building high-powered rockets.
Bykov’s honors and awards include being a James Scholar, having been named to the College of Engineering Dean's List, and having received the ANS Raymond DiSalvo Memorial Scholarship.
Asked what he wants to do with his degree, Bykov said, “I'm going to apply the Banach–Tarski theorem on it and get two identical degrees.” (The Banach-Tarski paradox states that a solid object can be split into a finite number of non-overlapping pieces and, without stretching or expanding them in any way, use them to form two objects identical to the first.)
Fiflis has served as a teaching assistant for NPRE 101, Introduction to Energy Sources, and NPRE 201, Energy Systems, and works as an undergraduate researcher in the Center for Plasma Material Interactions. He also is a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and the Order of Omega Green Honor Society.
His honors include having been named to the Dean’s List, Membership in the Alpha Nu Sigma Honor Society, being named a Chancellor’s Scholar and James Scholar, and having earned an Honorable Mention in the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship competition.
After graduation Fiflis expects to earn a master’s and, most likely, a PhD, from the University of Illinois.“I want to enter the field of nuclear fusion. I would love to contribute to making nuclear fusion competitive enough for commercialization,” he said.
Leigh Ann Kesler
Kesler is a member of ANS; the Illini Pullers, a competitive quarter-scale tractor building organization; Block I, the student support group for Illini football; and the campus’ Rock Climbing Club.
Her honors include the George H. Miley LENR Undergraduate Scholarship, the ANS Pittsburgh Local Section Undergraduate Scholarship, and a National Academy for Nuclear Training Scholarship.
“My favorite class so far has been NPRE 423 (the plasma lab class),” Kesler said. “I enjoyed this class because I received hands-on experience and knowledge in my chosen field.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Kesler plans to attend graduate school to pursue fusion-related research.
Cody A. Morrow
Morrow has served as ANS treasurer the past two years. He has volunteered for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center, and is Founder of oSTEM@Illinois (out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). He has been active in Alternative Spring Breaks, iHELP Volunteer services, and the NPRE exhibit for Engineering Open House.
In 2011 Morrow was made an Engineering Council Knight of St. Patrick in recognition of his leadership and many volunteer activities. His honors also include ANS Scholarship 2011; ANS Landis Scholarship 2010; Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Nuclear Engineering Scholar 2009, 2010; Department of Energy Nuclear Engineering Undergraduate Program Scholarship 2009; and NPRE Scholarship 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Upon graduation, Morrow would like to work for the NRC or a consulting firm such as Chicago-based Sargent & LundyLLC. “I am also looking at other consulting firms in which I can utilize my problem solving abilities as a non-engineer,” he said.