You are here

Two Ames Laboratory Science Interns are Awarded Prestigious Scholarships

Contact:                                                                  For Release:  April 4, 2014
Steve Karsjen, Ames Laboratory, 515-294-5643

Ames, Iowa  -- Two participants in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) research program at the DOE's Ames Laboratory have been awarded prestigious scholarships, one from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program and the other from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program.

ImageWilliam Robin Lindemann is a current participant in the Ames Laboratory's spring semester SULI program, which is sponsored by the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists within DOE's Office of Science.  During his 16-week internship, he has been working with mentor David Vaknin, Ames Laboratory physicist and Iowa State University adjunct physics professor.  Lindemann has participated in hands-on x-ray reflectivity and fluorescence research.  Lindemann is a two-time participant in the SULI program, having also participated in the summer 2013 summer SULI program, also with Vaknin as his mentor. 

Lindemann has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation's premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.  Out of over 1,100 students who applied for the scholarship, which is based on academic merit, 283 were selected and awarded a scholarship that will cover the cost of tuition fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.  Lindemann will apply the award to his senior year at Iowa State, where he is an undergraduate in materials science and engineering.  He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and conduct research in and teach advanced ceramics. 

"My success in receiving this award is due in large part to the SULI research experience I've had at the Ames Laboratory and to my mentor David Vaknin," said Lindemann. "SULI is a remarkable program for introducing undergraduates to real-life research experiences in science laboratories."   

"I have been fortunate to mentor many SULI students in the past and have enjoyed having them in the lab," said Vaknin. "Robin stands out for his maturity, his attitude and potential leadership skills.  I'd also like to thank the SULI program and the Ames Lab staff for its commitment to educating young scientists and helping to reinvigorate the enthusiasm for science in the nation.â"  

ImageJavier Grajeda participated in the SULI program at the Ames Laboratory in summer 2011 under the mentorship of Javier Vela, Ames Laboratory faculty scientist and Iowa State University assistant professor of chemistry. 

Grajeda has been awarded a highly competitive fellowship through the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).  Grajeda received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at El Paso and will use his three-year fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he recently enrolled as a graduate student. 

The GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.   Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, and opportunities for international research and professional development. 

While at the Ames Laboratory, Grajeda worked on a research project involving synthesis, characterization and modeling of nanocrystal-based nanocomposites.

In commenting on the award, Vela said, "Javier was a motivated student while participating in our research project at the Lab, and a prestigious award, such as the NSF graduate fellowship, would be a likely progression in his outstanding career path."

Grajeda added, "Working under the guidance of Dr. Vela has had a great impact on my career, and I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to participate in the SULI program."

In addition to their internships, both Lindemann and Grajeda were co-authors on research papers published in peer-reviewed journals following their SULI appointments -- Grajeda in a 2012 issue of Chemistry of Materials and Lindemann in a 2013 issue of Journal of Organic Electronics.   

Since inception, approximately 200 high-achieving students from universities and colleges around the nation have participated in the Ames Laboratory’s SULI program.  The Lab's upcoming 2014 summer SULI program will host a record 30 undergraduates. 

"We couldn't be more pleased with our students' success," said Steve Karsjen, laboratory education director for the Ames Laboratory.  "Awards like these are icing on the cake for what our research internships hope to accomplish."

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

SULI student Robin Lindemann and his Ames Laboratory mentor David Vaknin talk about Lindeman's experiences at Ames Lab and the impact of that work on his winning a Goldwater Scholarship.