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Kenneth Cooper
During his time as a nuclear engineering student, Kenneth Cooper was also in the Corps of Cadets, Company G-1. | Image: Courtesy of Kenneth Cooper

If you asked Kenneth Cooper the most impactful part of his educational experience at Texas A&M University, the answer is simple: research. A recent graduate of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and a former member of the Corps of Cadets in Company G-1, he is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship recipient.   

This honor is awarded to students striving to obtain research-based graduate degrees. The five-year fellowship consists of three years of financial support, including an annual stipend and a cost of education allowance.

“The research topic I will be pursuing is ‘Tuning Nanopores on Graphene for Quantum Tunneling Assisted Isotope Gas Separation,’ which is the research proposal I submitted for my NSF fellowship application,” said Cooper. “I will begin a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering with a nuclear materials specialization with Dr. Lin Shao as my research advisor in the fall.”

Shao is a professor in the nuclear engineering department and director of the Accelerator Laboratory. Cooper began working as an undergraduate student researcher in this lab in the summer of 2019.

“Being a part of Dr. Shao’s research group has given me insight on research and graduate school, so it prepared me well for my future,” said Cooper. “I feel like the faculty and staff in the nuclear engineering department have greatly contributed to my undergraduate experience overall.”

An instrumental part of his journey, Shao is excited to see the opportunities that remain for Cooper. 

“Our department offers various internships and hands-on training opportunities for undergraduate students to stimulate their research interests,” said Shao. “This helps our students to make their decisions on career paths as early as possible. Kenneth is one such talented student who harvests from the training and is quickly growing as a rising star. I am very proud of his achievements.”

As Cooper forges his path through the department, he hopes other students take advantage of the research opportunities available at Texas A&M. 

“The advice I have for undergraduates looking to further their education and career in graduate school is to get involved in research as soon as you can,” said Cooper. “This will allow you to experience different areas of research and understand what graduate program you’d like to pursue.”