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Building Futures- Josh Halstead Earns Research Internship

Josh Halstead is someone that knows the true meaning of dedication and hard work. It is this hard work that has earned him a summer research internship through the U.S. Department of Energy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Halstead came across the program during his time in the United States Army as a spacecraft controller. He never applied or thought about the opportunity again until he continued his education at SVCC.  In his final year, he received an email from Dr. Charles Atchley, professor of physics, encouraging him to apply for an internship through the U.S. Department of Energy, the same one he came across several years ago.

“Dr. Atchley and Cyrus Kooshesh [director of student support services] mentored me through the whole process. If it was not for them I do not know if I would have been motivated enough to apply.” Josh decided to apply to the Department of Energy’s Community College Initiative (CCI) program. After filling out the application, sending in transcripts, asking for letters of recommendation and completing several essays, he received the email that he would be interning at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. Eighty students were chosen out of several hundred applicants and put into 20 different sites across the nation. Josh’s site in Knoxville, Tennessee, will allow him to investigate the mechanisms of alloyed-nanoparticles, understand their structural stability and calculate some of their intrinsic properties.

“I feel prepared for the research program,” Josh said. “The close connections I have with my professors at Sauk, my participation in the honor’s program and the overall environment here has provided me the same educational foundation that students from other universities I will work with have.”

Halstead will graduate this May and will continue his education in computer science. He is not for certain which institution it will be as he has applied to University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, Purdue, Northwestern, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Carnegie Mellon. He plans to continue his education and pursue a doctorate’s degree in robotics or artificial intelligence research. At Sauk, Josh serves as SVCC’s student trustee and participates in student government, ICCB Student Advisory Committee, Phi Theta Kappa, Mu Alpha Theta, Student Veterans’ Organization, student ambassadors and helped as a tutor and peer mentor in Student Support Services. Josh also has strong family support from his wife, Theresa who will graduate from Sauk in 2012 and his 7-year old daughter, Mekhi.

To find out more about Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, visit To learn about the available opportunities through the Dept. of Energy’s CCI program, visit www. To learn more about SVCC, visit