Somayeh Pasebani and Jacob McMurray

University of ID and University of TN

AIME Henry DeWitt Smith Scholarship in 2014

Somayeh Pasebani is expected to graduate with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Idaho by August 2014.

She has been working in the field of processing and characterization of advanced oxide dispersion strengthened alloys (both iron-based and nickel-based) for high temperature and high-radiation applications. Somayeh, a former TMS award winner in the structural materials division and the recipient of the AIME Henry Dewitt Scholarship, has valuable skills in powder metallurgy, spark plasma sintering, mechanical testing at room and elevated temperatures, and advanced microscopy and microanalysis techniques. She intends to apply core concepts in materials science (structure, properties, processing and performance) to identify, formulate and solve contemporary materials engineering problems.

As the youngest girl of her large family, she grew up helping her dad fix things around the house and was soon interested in how different materials were fabricated. She decided to pursue Metallurgical Engineering and continued on to Materials Science and Engineering in her graduate studies, which she found incredibly fascinating.

In her spare time, enjoys gardening, adventuring in nature, and getting involved with educational and social activities. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest in the town of Moscow, Idaho. She loves the area and the people there. She can be contacted at

Jacob W. McMurray is a Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education fellow and candidate for Ph.D. in Energy Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee.  His interest in energy inspired him to pursue an advanced degree in order to play a role in the development of technology that may one day impact the industry and facilitate more sustainable and efficient use of the natural resources used for fuel.

Jake currently conducts research in the Surface Processing and Mechanics group in the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His work is the thermodynamic assessment of ternary uranium-oxygen containing systems pertinent to nuclear fuel applications using the CALPHAD (CALculation of PHAse Diagrams) modeling approach. Here, he uses a thermogravimetric analysis technique to characterize the equilibrium oxygen pressures over complex oxide fluorite solid solutions.  These measurements are compiled with existing data for these and other phases to develop the models that constitute the assessments part of larger nuclear fuels thermodynamic database development efforts.

Jake plans to graduate in December of 2014.