A Price College of Engineering graduate’s dedication and hard work has paid off. After earning her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the U in 2022, Josefine McBrayer has been awarded the prestigious Truman Fellowship by Sandia National Laboratories. With this honor, which entails a three-year postdoctoral appointment,

McBrayer will continue her innovative research to improve battery lifetimes.

Sandia National Laboratories, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary research and development centers, is dedicated to solving national security issues through science and technology. Its Harry S. Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering is aimed at attracting “the best nationally recognized new Ph.D. scientists and engineers,” to “pursue high-risk, high-reward ideas that support the Labs’ national security mission.”

McBrayer was selected for both her academic excellence and her passion for and extensive experience in energy storage research.

“I’m never bored building batteries and doing electrochemical testing,” she says. “A growing field — such a broad use, so many different chemistries with a variety of applications.”

McBrayer received a BS in Chemical Engineering and a MS in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering at the University of New Mexico. Her masters thesis focused on improving the longevity of lithium-sulfur batteries. Upon joining the University of Utah in 2017, McBrayer was named Gregory B. McKenna Fellow and pursued her doctoral research on ways to gauge the shelf-life of lithium-ion batteries.

Throughout her academic career, McBrayer has been highly involved in the Society of Women Engineers, and has worked as a technical intern for Sandia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Since beginning the fellowship last year, McBrayer has served as the principal investigator of a research project to further improve the effectiveness and safety of rechargeable lithium metal batteries for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.