Science Without Borders student Alice Cunha da Silva wins global competition


Alice Cunha da Silva, a nuclear engineering student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, won first place in the Nuclear Olympiad competition, an international nuclear competition promoted by the World Nuclear University. Her work focused on the medical applications of nuclear engineering and emphasized that nuclear engineering saves lives. In 2014, she studied nuclear engineering for a year at Penn State through the Science Without Borders program.

The Nuclear Olympiad is an international challenge for undergraduate and graduate students to create a video on the topic of nuclear techniques for global development. The 2015 challenge required research into the nuclear applications and the positive impact it has on human lives. The competition awards students who show nuclear applications beyond energy generation and fuel fabrication.

In the first Nuclear Olympiad round, videos from all over the world were reviewed and semifinalists were selected according to the relevance and creativity of their videos. The semifinalists were posted on YouTube and the five videos with the most likes moved on to the final round. Cunha da Silva’s video received more than 15,000 views on YouTube.

As a finalist, Cunha da Silva presented her work on the application of radiopharmaceuticals to the treatment of diseases at the final competition at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.

Cunha da Silva is currently working in the Brazilian division of Westinghouse in the area of core engineering. While studying at Penn State in 2014, she also interned at Westinghouse in Pittsburgh.


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Shea Bracken

Alice Cunha da Silva

Alice Cunha da Silva, a nuclear engineering student who studied at Penn State, won first place in the Nuclear Olympiad competition. Image: O Globo



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

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