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McNair Scholar Elan Herrerea (right) with his mentor, Dr. Sheldon Landsberger from the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Nuclear Program.

McNair Scholar Elan Herrerea (right) with his mentor, Dr. Sheldon Landsberger from the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Nuclear Program.

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Elan Herrera, a Mechanical Engineering graduating senior in the McNair Scholars Program, has successfully completed his bachelor's degree while also working as an undergraduate research assistant and student technician.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded program (one of the TRIO Programs funded by the Department of Education) mandated by Congress. The goal of the program is to increase the number of students in doctoral degree programs who are low-income and first-generation undergraduates or students who come from groups underrepresented in graduate education; particularly African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. As part of the program students are required to do independent research with a faculty member in any department at The University of Texas and also to enroll in classes to improve their GRE scores.

Herrera's mentor was Dr. Sheldon Landsberger who oversaw his lengthy research paper entitled "A Feasibility Analysis of Small Modular Reactors as a Future Energy Supplement to the Commercial Nuclear Power Sector". Elan has been accepted to the Department of Nuclear Engineering at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he will do research in nuclear materials. In April, Elan also received his Nuclear Regulatory Commission reactor license after completing extensive training at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab.

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