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Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Mentors Honored as Outstanding

June 5, 2015

Three National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) hydrogen and fuel cell researchers were among seven outstanding mentors from NREL's Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program who were announced at the spring SULI program poster session on May 14, 2015.

The Outstanding Mentor Award recognizes researchers and scientists who have been exceptional mentors for interns in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science's SULI program. NREL mentors help develop the next generation of scientists and engineers by dedicating time and effort to encourage and challenge students by providing them with real world applications of their classroom studies. In addition to their guidance in research, NREL mentors offer their expertise and help guide students as they work to complete requirements for the SULI program, such as a research paper and scientific poster.

Huyen Dinh was nominated for an Outstanding Mentor Award by SULI intern Leah McGovern after her positive and rich internship experience at NREL with Dinh and fellow mentor Guido Bender. McGovern studied the effects of contaminants from structural materials on polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance.

According to McGovern, Dinh has been a patient and supportive mentor who went above and beyond all expectations. "Huyen's dedication to helping women excel in the science and math fields is inspiring," McGovern said. "I know I never would have received this amazing opportunity at NREL if she hadn't accepted me as her intern."

Mike Ulsh and Guido Bender received an Outstanding Mentor Award after being nominated by their SULI intern, Adam Phillips, whose study was on membrane electrode assembly defect detection in PEM fuel cells.

Phillips said that Ulsh and Bender helped him acclimate not only to NREL but to Colorado, as well. They collaborated with a Colorado School of Mines professor, allowing Phillips to keep his research project and work at NREL during graduate school. "I have been fortunate to work on a project that was well-structured, feasible, and matched to my prior research experiences in fuel cells," Phillips said.

The SULI program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers by providing research experiences at the DOE laboratories. Selected students participate as interns appointed at one of fifteen participating DOE laboratories. They perform research, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission.

Learn more about the SULI program at NREL.

—Sara Havig