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ACU engineering and physics students awarded prestigious scholarships from U.S. Department of Energy

Two ACU undergraduate students – Keaton Brewster from Malibu, California, and Reuben Howe from Dale, Texas – have been awarded prestigious scholarships by the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE annually presents more than $5 million in awards through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Integrated University Program to students pursuing nuclear engineering degrees or other science programs relevant to nuclear energy.

The DOE awards include 42 scholarships and 34 fellowships for students at 32 colleges and universities across the U.S. Each undergraduate receives a $7,500 scholarship to help cover education costs for the upcoming year.

Brewster, a senior physics and mathematics major, and Howe, a junior engineering major, engage in groundbreaking, competitive research alongside faculty and staff with ACU’s innovative NEXT Lab. During the university’s virtual undergraduate research festival this week, Brewster and Howe presented their individual work with NEXT. Brewster’s research focused on measurement devices, and Howe’s illustrated a molten salt pump design.

ACU’s NEXT Lab is dedicated to finding real-world solutions to some of the world’s most critical needs using advanced nuclear reactor designs.

“NEXT is providing new opportunities for our students and growing our national reputation,” said Dr. Rusty Towell, ACU professor of engineering and physics, and director of the lab. “We are advancing the technology of molten salt reactors while educating the next generation of leaders in nuclear science and engineering.”

The NEXT Lab and its molten salt test loop are housed in the Engineering and Physics Laboratories at Bennett Gymnasium, one of three science facilities constructed during ACU’s Vision in Action initiative.

Abilene Christian is the highest-ranking university in Texas in a 2020 U.S. News & World Report benchmark focused on student success. ACU achieved Top 20 status in three of eight high-impact categories among 1,500 universities evaluated for “A Focus on Student Success” and is the only Texas institution to be ranked in five of the categories. Learn more at

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