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Nuclear Regulatory Commission grant to fund Engineering scholarships

Thanks to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission grant, Western Carolina University’s College of Engineering and Technology will offer six scholarships for students studying in electrical power, mechanical and electrical disciplines.

Participating students will receive $5,000 per semester for their junior and senior years, provided academic milestones are achieved. The scholarships will be offered for the next two years. Recipients of the scholarship will agree to work in nuclear-related employment for six months after graduation for every year they received the award.

The NRC is the federal agency that regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials.

“We at the College of Engineering and Technology are very thankful to NRC for providing numerous workforce development opportunities since 2016,” said Bora Karayaka, an associate professor who will coordinate the program on campus. “These grants helped our students go above and beyond their limits in nuclear-related industry and academia including U.S. National Laboratories, Eaton, NRC, Duke Energy and MIT, just to name a few.”

The scholarship program will utilize specific initiatives, such as the NRC learning community, Project Based Learning and Undergraduate Research, to prepare students for employment in the nuclear-related fields including electric power, sustainability and clean energy. “Students majoring in a bachelor’s degree in engineering with an electrical power concentration will have a clear advantage over the other disciplines to transition into this program,” Karayaka said.

Other NRC grant program leaders in the College of Engineering and Technology include Andy Ritenour, an assistant professor, and Chip Ferguson, a professor and interim dean, as well as Channa DeSilva, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the scholarship opportunity, contact Karayaka at 828-227-2472 or

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