Gulf coast engineering student earns DOE fellowship

June 25, 2021

A Bagley College of Engineering student has been selected to receive a highly competitive fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Christopher Pilmaier

Mechanical engineering student Christopher Pilmaier recently earned a prestigious fellowship from the Dept. of Energy.

Christopher Pilmaier, a student in Mississippi State’s Engineering on the Coast program, will receive $161,000 over three years as part of the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Integrated University Program. The fellowship provides $52,000 each year to help cover graduate studies and research. It also provides $5,000 to fund an internship at a U.S. national laboratory or other approved research facility.

The goal of the program is to strengthen ties between students and the DOE’s energy research programs.

“I’d like to thank Dr. Shanti Bhushan and Dr. Aaron Smith for assisting me in submitting my application,” Pilmaier said. “I also want to thank the staff and instructors of the coastal campus, especially Dr. Aaron Smith and Dr. Shane Brauer, who helped me find my passion. Lastly, I would like to thank my family, especially my wife, Megan. She has been extremely supportive of me and has always pushed me to pursue higher goals.”

Pilmaier was one of just 31 students nationwide to earn a graduate fellowship through the program.

“Nuclear is going to play a critical role in America’s clean energy future, which means it’s more important than ever that we invest in this braintrust,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s whip-smart students are going to power tomorrow’s cutting-edge solutions, and I can’t wait to see where they take us.”

Since 2009, the Integrated University Program has awarded nearly 850 scholarships and fellowships, totaling approximately $50 million in awards. Eight former fellowship winners are now university professors engaged in nuclear energy-related research, and one was competitively awarded an Office of Nuclear Energy research and development award in FY 2020.

Mississippi State’s Bagley College of Engineering is online at and can be found on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube at @msuengineering.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

By Philip Allison