Payton Beeler, a doctoral student in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has been accepted into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program, a prestigious research opportunity for doctoral students.

Beeler, who works in the lab of Rajan Chakrabarty, associate professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, will conduct some of her doctoral thesis research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, for six months.

Beeler will work to determine whether there are significant changes to soot particle size and optical properties before and after they undergo cloud-processing. Then, she will develop a single-particle model that can recreate any observed changes to soot particles during cloud processing. 

The program, which is intended to advance participants’ doctoral theses, provides travel support and a monthly living stipend. Beeler is one of 80 graduate students in this cohort from 27 states.

“For decades, DOE has cultivated the expertise to meet the nation’s greatest scientific challenges. Now more than ever, we need to invest in a diverse, talented pipeline of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs who will be the future science and innovation leaders of this country,” said Geraldine Richmond, under secretary of science and innovation. “I’m thrilled these outstanding students will help us tackle critical research at our labs, and I know their futures are bright.”



The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 165 full-time faculty, 1,420 undergraduate students, 1,614 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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