Meet The Team

The Team!
  1. Group Photo
  2. Column Separation
  3. Column Separation
  4. Tube Furnace
  5. Small Inert Box
  6. Column Separation
  7. Portable XRD
  8. Cold trap for High Vacuum Fluorination Line
  9. Title 17
  10. Title 18
  11. Cold Trap
  12. Actinide Separations Conference
  13. Actinide Separations Conference
Prof. McDonald joined the UU in January 2014 as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering serving as the Assistant Director of the Nuclear Engineering Program. In McDonald’s first few years at Utah, he has chaired the nuclear engineering curriculum development committee, leading the restructuring of the undergraduate minor and Ph.D. curriculum. This has involved the development of two new graduate courses (Graduate Radiochemistry and Analytical Nuclear Forensics) and the restructuring of three additional courses. At the same time, McDonald has led the development of a nuclear chemistry laboratory, mentoring over twenty students, and managing $5 M in research funding. McDonald will host the Department of Homeland Security’s Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Summer School in 2017. Prior to joining the UU, McDonald performed a post-doctoral fellowship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in National Technical Nuclear Forensics, worked as a visiting scientist at the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique in Saclay, France, and completed his Ph.D. at Washington State University in Radiochemistry. He served at the elected Secretary of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology from 2013 – 2016 and was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 in Science in 2017.

Current Researchers

  • Short bio coming soon...
Erik Abbott
Graduate Student
  • Mike graduate from the University of California, Irvine in 2015 with a degree in Chemistry. He then spent one year as a Post-Bacc Research Associate with the Nuclear & Radiochemistry Group (C-NR) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research at Los Alamos focused on isotopic ratios of neodymium isolated from uranium ore concentrates.
  • Mike is currently working on his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering with a focus on oxygen isotope ratios in uranium oxides for use in nuclear forensics.
  • Mike's hobbies include: hiking, brewing, paddleboarding, skiing, and woodworking.
Mike Klosterman
Graduate Student
  • After completing a B.S. in Physics from the University of West Florida, Sean began pursuing his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah.  
  • Sean's research focus is on the Morphology of Uranium Oxides for use in Nuclear Forensics.
  • Contact: [email protected]
Sean Heffernan
Graduate Student
  • Alexa graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
  • Alexa is currently working on her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering with research in nuclear forensics.
Alexa Hansen
Graduate Student
  • Bio coming soon
Cody Nizinski
Graduate Student

Graduate Students

  • Cristina completed her M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering with the thesis "Uranium Extraction by Complexation with Siderophores." 
  • She recently began a three year appointment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research!
  • Her picture is at her new job in CERN. Cristina is standing in front of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) . How cool!
Cristina Bahamonde Castro
M.S. Completed June 2015
  • Joe completed his M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering with the thesis "Mineralogical and Chemical Composition of Shale at Multiple Scales."
  • He recently complete a round of interviews at Livermore National Laboratory and we are hopeful for good news soon!
Joe Levinthal
M.S. Completed May 2016
  • Ian Schwerdt graduated from the University of Utah in 2013 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and in 2018 with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering
  • Ian is currently a staff scientist at PNNL.
Ian Schwerdt
Ph.D. Completed August 2018
Adam Olsen
Ph.D. Completed in May 2018
  • Adam Olsen graduated from the University of Utah in 2013 with his B.S. in Civil Enginnering and 2015 with a M.S. in Civil Engineering. His research in for his M.S. was in CO2 sequestration and sub-surface flow modeling for water resource management.
  • Adam finished his Ph.D. in 2018 in Environmental Engineering studying morhpological signatures of U3O8. 
  • Adam is currently a NNSA Graduate Fellow and he will start a Scientist position at LANL later this Spring!

Undergraduate Researchers

Braxton Smith
Jake Maschoff
Winnie Gee
Ronald Mattingly
Robert Lusk
Trenton Kirkham
Nicholas Halverson
Melissa Puga
Dyland Wilson
Emerson Evans
Esperanza Hernandez
Joseph Santora
Sean Martinson
Robert Robinson
Alyson Manoel
Robert Derber
Alex Jolley
Alexandria Brenkman
Bryce Collins