U Mechanical Engineering Student Awarded DOE Fellowship

April 7, 2015

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Brooklyn Noble is first Utah student and mechanical engineer to receive a fellowship from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Brooklyn Noble was born with a passion for science, technology and engineering, she says.

While growing up near North Ogden in Weber County, the University of Utah mechanical engineering student entered all of the school science fairs. At 14 years old, she even went to the national science fair with her project on astronomy.

“I can’t remember when I wasn’t interested in science,” she said. “No one in my family is a scientist or engineer. I guess I was just born that way.”

Today, the 22-year-old doctoral student is achieving even more success out of that lifelong fascination with science and engineering. In March, she received the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship for her research on an ultra-thin lubricant, the first student from a Utah university and the first mechanical engineer in the country to receive the honor. The award pays for four years of her tuition, school fees, as well as a yearly stipend and additional funding for professional development. The award is given to five students nationally every year.

“It’s a great thing,” she said. “I get to do an internship at a national lab. I also get to attend their national conference. It’s such an honor.”

Noble has been researching the properties of perfluoropolyether, a thin lubricant that is used in such devices as computer hard drives to coat the disk from damage as well as small sensors including the ones in automobiles. Her advisor is U mechanical engineering assistant professor Bart Raeymaekers.

Born in North Ogden, Noble graduated from Weber High School before attending the U. She received her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in 2014 and is now a year into her Ph.D. studies. She plans to either pursue a career in academia or become a researcher at a national lab or for a global company. She credits her time here at the U for molding her childhood interest into a career opportunity.

“I had such a great time here, and I don’t want to leave,” she said.