PULLMAN, Wash.–Nathaniel Hicks, Washington State University junior from Cheney, has been selected for a summer fellowship in the U.S. Department of Energy’s national undergraduate program in plasma physics and fusion engineering.
Hicks receives a week’s orientation beginning June 16 at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey with 20 other students chosen from around the country. He then works with research scientists at General Atomics, a private corporation in LaJolla, Calif., through Aug. 16.
He says his fascination with the potential of fusion energy began in grade school. Years of reading about the possibilities for an environmentally clean source of power paid dividends this spring when he was able to prepare a winning proposal for the Energy Department fellowship in less than two weeks.
Hicks became a physics research assistant following his freshman year at WSU working with professors Phillip Marston and Mark Kuzyk.
This spring he represented WSU with three other undergraduate physics students in a NASA program conducted at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston. Flying in a Boeing transport that performed maneuvers to simulate zero gravity, the WSU team performed experiments exploring a fusion theory.
Entering WSU with a Distinguished Presidential Scholarship, Hicks also has earned a national Goldwater Fellowship for two years of academic support. He is the son of Barry and Gail Hicks of Cheney. His father is assistant director of the Health Research and Education Center at WSU Spokane.