The Bright Future in Energy Scholarship Competition

INL’s Bright Future in Energy Scholarship Competition is open to 11th- and 12th-grade students interested in pursuing a postsecondary education and career focused on nuclear energy, the environment or protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. With funding provided by Battelle Energy Alliance, INL expects to award a total of $25,000 in scholarships to winners and runners-up.

Participating students will research one of three science-related prompts and prepare a virtual presentation for an expert panel of INL judges during the week of Feb. 13-17, 2023. To be considered, students should submit their application by Feb. 8, 2023.

Apply here

2023 Bright Future in Energy Scholarship Prompts:

  1. What role does nuclear energy play in helping the world achieve a future with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions? How do the risks and benefits of nuclear energy compare with other existing energy technologies?
  2. How do we develop a truly sustainable recycling method that is economically feasible, environmentally responsible and socially justifiable? What role can such a program play in helping the world achieve a future with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions?
  3. Consider your nearest major city. What are the cybersecurity concerns associated with operating this city’s government, energy and transportation infrastructure? How can these concerns be communicated in a way that creates greater cybersecurity awareness in schools, communities and industry?

Questions? Contact Adrienne Petrovic.


Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Bright Future in Energy Scholarship Competition!

Top scholar: Claire Yoo

Claire is a junior at Idaho Falls High School. She will receive a $12,000 scholarship for her presentation addressing the question: “How do we develop a process that will allow for the extraction and refinement of rare earth elements and other critical resources needed to power the move towards a Net-zero future, while taking into consideration the future impacts on people, wildlife and the environment?”

In her research, she examined spreadsheets from the U.S. Department of Energy and national laboratory websites. One came from Sandia National Laboratories and detailed how rare earth elements can be extracted from coal ash using food-grade citric acid.

While concluding that there are no simple solutions, she concluded a net-zero future is possible by fully considering future impacts on people, wildlife and the environment.

With her senior year still ahead of her, Yoo is thinking about college “somewhere on the East Coast, ” she said.


Runner Up: Chase Crawford

Chase crawfordA junior at Mountain View High School outside Boise, Chase will receive a $6,500 scholarship for his response to the prompt: “How do the actual risks and benefits of nuclear energy compare with other existing energy technologies and those that will be part of the world’s Net-Zero future?”

In his presentation, Chase made some conclusions, including that nuclear energy is essential to a realistic, economically viable net-zero future because of its ability to replace coal and other GHG-emitting energy forms as well as its constant available energy.

Outside of school, Crawford enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. This figures in where he would like to go to college, most likely a place where mountains are not far away like Utah State University.


Runner Up: Jonathan Zhang

fac  d d ecfbdJonathan Zhang is a a junior at Central Bucks West High School. He will receive a $6,500 scholarship for his presentation addressing the question: “How do the actual risks and benefits of nuclear energy compare with other existing energy technologies and those that will be part of the world’s Net-Zero future?”

After reviewing information from 28 different sources, however, “I found there were a lot more benefits to nuclear than I realized,” he said. “Nuclear was a lot better than I thought it was.”

“It’s a clean, reliable energy source,” he said.

With a year of high school left, Zhang has yet to pick a college he wants to attend, focused instead on his Advanced Placement classes, which include calculus, biology, English composition, statistics, and macroeconomics. Although he is certain his career will involve science, he hasn’t decided exactly what field. But his presentation has piqued his interest in the atom. “I find nuclear energy really interesting,” he said.