Tawfik Raby Memorial Scholarship

Tawfik M. Raby had a long and distinguished career in advocating the use of research reactors.  He was a founding member of the National Organization for Test, Research and Training Reactors (TRTR), served as Chair a total of five times, and served for many years on its executive committee.  His strong leadership and outspokenness forged the way for unifying the voices of the US research reactor community in advocacy and regulatory issues.

He immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1947 after receiving a scholarship to study at the University of California at Berkeley; earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and chemistry from Berkeley in 1953, a master’s in those fields from the University of Utah in 1954, and a doctorate in physics from Columbia University in 1959; was employed as a nuclear engineer by Allis-Chalmers and ALCO Products from 1960 to 1966, participating in and leading many reactor criticality activities, including activities for the U.S. Army nuclear power program and directed the startup of the Wright-Patterson reactor facility.  In 1967, he became a consultant to the National Bureau of Standards ([NBS] — now the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST]) as the NBS Reactor first reached criticality in 1968 and joined the bureau as Chief of Reactor Operations, directing the start-up of NBSR to full power operation in 1969.  He was named a NIST Senior Fellow in 2002 and retired from federal service in 2005.  Tawfik was also a faculty member at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a member of the Senior Executive Service from 1989 until his retirement.  He was the recipient of many honors, including the Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 1992 and the ANS Standards Service Award in 1996.

The Scholarship


A monetary award will be given to an undergraduate who demonstrates initiative and excellence in operations or research use of a university reactor.   Emphasis should be placed on how the student’s work best exemplifies the promotion of the use of a research reactor.  The award-winning student should also present a summary of their work at the annual meeting of the National Organization of the Test, Research and Training Reactors (TRTR).

Applications will be accepted for review starting March 1, 2024. The deadline for application is April 15!

Awards will be announced in early May.

Eligibility and Application

Any undergraduate at a university with an operating research reactor.

The following items are required for application:

  1.  Short essay (about 1 page) describing the student’s work and contribution to the research reactor.
  2. Letter of recommendation from the reactor supervisor or faculty member.
  3. Current transcript
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Past Recipients

Hope is a Senior Reactor Operator at the Reed College 250 kw TRIGA reactor. She has distinguished herself for her natural leadership skills at Reed, overseeing the training program which is responsible for licensing the largest group of student operator candidates at any university in the US, accounting for almost 25% of all research reactor licenses issued by NRC.  Hope also uses her passion for teaching to serve as a mentor for high school interns, and conducts her own research in thermodynamics as part of the summer research program in the Reed Physics Department. She also serves as the Vice-president of Reed’s newly founded student chapter of the American Nuclear Society, continuing her leadership in outreach to students in the area. 

As a licensed operator for the UNM AGN-201M reactor, Robert demonstrates how this low-power instructional facility can inspire students, helping them cultivate the skills to launch exceptional careers in nuclear science and technology.  He has extensively supported the reactor through engagement in in-person and virtual public outreach events, maintenance, and instructional laboratory activities.  He is pursuing a senior independent study in neutron spectroscopy and developing a novel neutron noise analysis experiment.

Congratulations to Robert!

In an operations capacity, Eli has been instrumental to the Missouri S&T Reactor following his initial operator licensing in fall 2020.  With minimal full-time staff, Eli took an active role in the conduct of reactor lab experiments, research, and training.  Additionally, he has participated in design of on ongoing reactor instrumentation projects, including using additive manufacturing to create replacement support structures for aging analog equipment.

Academically, Eli maintained at 4.0 GPA and was among the first to graduate following the establishment of the independent Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science.  He has been consistently active in other campus organizations and activities, including leadership roles in the student chapter of the American Nuclear Society and Women in Nuclear.

Congratulations to Mr. Boland!

Mark was selected as a Reactor Operations Intern at MURR in the summer of 2019 and showed great leadership initiative in mentoring others.  As an Engineering Student Assistant, he worked with one of MURR’s best scientists and mentors in the design of components and instruments needed by MURR scientists for research on reactor systems and for products and services.  In addition to his great academic success, Mark is a natural teacher and is a strong advocate of nuclear research and education assisting with MURR’s annual class on nuclear science for secondary science and mathematics teachers, an activity that helped promote to a key STEM constituency the significant role of research reactors in a range of fields.   He was also accepted as a Summer 2020 Mechanical Engineering Intern at Callaway Nuclear Plant. 

Congratulations to Mr. Korol!

Garrett Wendel is the winner of the 2019 Tawfik Raby Memorial Scholarship. He is a highly motivated and dedicated student operator at the Penn State Breazeale Reactor. His contributions to the facility include Xenon reactivity modelling based on recent reactor power history as well as significant work in the design and implementation of a coupon positioning system for the neutron transmission beam port. Compliments of Garrett have included, “The reactor facility benefits from every minute that he is here. His enthusiasm, good attitude, dedication, and telent will take him far.”  These descriptions embody the spirit and memory of the contributions Tawfik Raby made to the research reactor community.

Congratulations to Mr. Wendel!

Sarah Stevenson is the inaugural winner and 2018 recipient of the Tawfik Raby Memorial Scholarship. She has spent over three years with the Kansas State University TRIGA MK II Nuclear Reactor Facility as well as doing internships at Idaho National Laboratory. She has served as President of her school’s ANS chapter and is involved in various other organizations. Others have said of Sarah, “She has a sense of duty to both her job and her country. She is also remarkably compassionate and keeps an eye out for her colleagues.” and “Sarah is an exceptionally talented student and devoted, hardworking employee… [with] an unbridled commitment to safety culture.”

Congratulations to Ms. Stevenson!