PULLMAN, Wash. – Sandia National Laboratories will provide $20,000 in support to a Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture graduate student with the establishment of the WSU Excellence in Engineering Fellowship.

Sandia developed the fellowship program to encourage innovation in science-based, multidisciplinary research by supporting outstanding doctoral candidates in engineering and science. This is the first of two fellowships Sandia will support. A second $20,000 will be awarded to a WSU College of Sciences graduate student.

“Sandia is a visionary as they establish this fellowship,” said Jim Petersen, associate dean of research and graduate programs in WSU’s College of Engineering and Architecture. “The fellowship provides an innovative mechanism for building the relationship between the university and research conducted at Sandia and other national laboratories.”

The fellowship program is expected to strengthen Sandia’s partnership with WSU, encouraging a new generation of engineers and scientists who can contribute to engineering and technology in areas of national interest that are critically needed.

Sandia and WSU have a history of collaborative work in physics, engineering and materials science. Sandia also collaborated with researchers in WSU’s Institute of Shock Physics in the College of Sciences and with engineering alumni working to apply extreme ultraviolet lithography to the manufacturing of next generation computer chips.

Sandia also hopes to encourage students to pursue graduate degrees, said Alec Willis, a representative of Sandia on two advisory councils in the College of Engineering and Architecture.

“This is a way of providing support for graduate-level research that is of mutual interest to the university and to Sandia,” Willis said.

The first recipient of the fellowship is Scott Whalen, a graduate student in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Whalen of Woodinville is part of a research team led by WSU faculty that is developing an engine small enough to fit inside a hole punch.

Sandia is the largest U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory. It has locations in New Mexico and northern California, and it has a workforce of more than 9,000 people. The laboratory specializes in national security, energy and environmental programs.

WSU is one of 30 universities selected for fellowships.