DOE Scholarship Boosts Career

May 16, 2016 | | Internal Press Release, Student Success

jennifer smith

Chattanooga, TN (May 16, 2016) --- It took Jennifer Smith quite a while to find the right career path. Originally a math major, she chose engineering at UTC because she was unaware of other options available. Following graduation, she worked as an engineer for a brief period and then switched to operations at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. It was then that she discovered the exciting world of the nuclear power industry and came to Chattanooga State to pursue a degree in radiation protection to further her career.

Jennifer and her fellow students were encouraged to apply for a scholarship opportunity through the Department of Energy (DOE). In addition to providing the usual information, students were asked to write an essay describing long-term career goals and how their program of study aligned with the DOE mission – “to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.” Jennifer was thrilled to receive a scholarship that paid for tuition, books, and room and board for up to $3,500 per semester or $7,500 for the scholastic year.

At Chattanooga State, Jennifer embraced student life activities and served as secretary of the Chattanooga State American Nuclear Society, wrote for the college student newspaper, and became a student member of the Society of Women Engineers.

She credits Chattanooga State Engineering Technology nuclear power and radiation protection professors Lisa Miller, Mark Palmer, Terry Newman, and Joe Bynum for her success. “They are all experienced nuclear power professionals that provide the most relevant information in an accessible and understandable way. They are very supportive of students’ educational and professional goals,” shares Smith.

Jennifer graduated summa cum laude on May 8, 2016 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology: Radiation Protection. In April, Jennifer was hired by Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant in Maryland as an Equipment Operator Initial Trainee (EOIT), making it necessary for her to complete her coursework online prior to graduation.

Following her six-month training period at Calvert Cliffs, Jennifer will adjust and maintain plant equipment, implement procedures that start-up or shutdown the facility, respond to abnormalities and/or take appropriate actions as directed. “My goal is to gain a permanent plant position, earn my senior reactor’s license and become a manager,” states Jennifer.

For more information on the Engineering Technology Radiation Protection program, visit or call Lisa Miller at 423-697-3279.