Materials science and engineering former student accepts faculty position at University of Florida

Assel AitkaliyevaDr. Assel Aitkaliyeva ’12, a graduate of the materials science and engineering department, has been appointed as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Florida.

Aitkaliyeva received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Kazakh National University, a Master of Science in nuclear engineering and her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, both from Texas A&M. After graduating in 2012, she joined Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as the technical lead for the Nuclear Science User Facilities.

During her graduate studies, Aitkaliyeva worked under the supervision of Dr. Lin Shao, associate professor and faculty undergraduate advisor in the nuclear engineering department and affiliated faculty member in the materials science and engineering department.

Aitkaliyeva has more than 20 peer-reviewed journal publications and delivered over 30 presentations at national professional meetings. She acquired more than $3.5 million in funding for her research at INL. Her research is focused on studying the effects of irradiation on materials using a range of microscopy techniques, mechanical testing techniques and computational models. Her expertise is in characterization of nuclear fuels, with particular emphasis on accident tolerant fuel concepts.

In 2015, Aitkaliyeva received the INL Early Career Award for her work on understanding the equilibria and kinetics of plutonium-based fuels in contact with cladding materials. Her pioneering work focused on ion beam sample preparation methods, which has made her widely sought after by domestic and international laboratories.

Author: Shraddha Sankhe