Friday, September 09, 2011
“Excellent.” That’s how Dr. Musa Danjaji describes his student, Crystal Green. He emphatically says it over and over again. ”She’s an excellent student. She understands every problem and I knew she was excellent.”
Danjaji, an advisor to Green, an academic program coordinator for nuclear engineering and an associate professor at SC State, encouraged his model student to apply for an internship with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory located in Livermore, Ca. Contrary to the customary practice of the lab inviting primarily graduate students into their facility, Green, a sophomore at SC State, was admitted and excelled.
One might say that excellence has been a staple in Green’s life since high school. The 19 year old graduated valedictorian from Butler High School in Augusta, Ga. and received a full scholarship to SC State. She entered the University as a part of the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP) and has continued her reign of excellence at the University, becoming the freshman class vice president and a member of the Honors College. She is currently the sophomore class vice president.
Because of Green’s academic prowess, Danjaji was not the sole mentor to encourage her to work at the national laboratory. “(Former) dean, Kenneth Lewis, actually knew the boss,” says Green. “He pushed me to go out there.” According to Green, Lewis also convinced her dad that a summer in Livermore, Ca., many miles away from her home, would prove to be worthwhile.
Lewis was right. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is the leading national lab that does high level research in nuclear related fields. In 2009, the Nuclear Criticality Safety Division of the Lab visited the SILENE Reactor in France. They used dosimeters to detect various amounts of radiation, including the radiation that a person may experience two meters away, four meters away and so forth. Green simulated this experience to ensure that the results the division received experimentally correlated with the results she obtained theoretically. Green’s results were completed and presented at a poster symposium. The judges were so impressed, she placed first. “I was the youngest intern in my category and I won,” says a proud Green. Not only did Green win accolades from the poster symposium, but she has also been invited to the lab for subsequent internships.
Danjaji, Lewis and Dr. Reinhardt Brown were well aware of Green’s potential. In fact, Brown, executive director of the Environmental Policy Institute at SC State, was fundamental in her attainment of the internship. According to Brown, SC State has a grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration Agency (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy. “NNSA has national laboratories throughout the U.S.,” says Brown. “Through the grant, we secure students to participate in the summer internship program.” If students are good candidates, their names are forwarded to NNSA. Green was one such student.
“I felt that she was a very good student, very disciplined and she had a strong academic background,” says Brown. “We are trying to find future leaders and I thought that she would be a good candidate. We intend to submit her name next year.”
Green is ecstatic about the opportunity to delve into new projects at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory next year. Aside from some homesickness, Green says her experience was a good one. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in California,” says Green. “I was amongst a diverse group of fellow interns from all across the world, and the lab sponsored various activities for us such as white-water rafting and sky-diving. I am very thankful and hope to return next year to work on a publication.”
After graduating from SC State in May 2014, Green plans to attend graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in nuclear medicine or nuclear engineering.