POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho State University is celebrating an anniversary of its partnership with the Idaho National Lab.
Wednesday night, they celebrated ten years of the “S Tech” program, which offers training for high-tech careers, like cyber security or mechanics.
That program, plus working on collaborative research and offering internships and hands-on training for students is just one of the few benefits ISU and INL said their partnership offers.
ISU president Kevin Satterlee said students and scientists working side-by-side in shared facilities is a rare opportunity in the U.S.
This partnership between the university and INL helps create and train future STEM leaders.
“I don’t know if I can really put into words how important that is," Satterlee said. "Because this type of high-tech industry, it’s the wave of the future. These are the ways our society, our world, is going to power itself into the future. Literally, bring the power we need to continue as a society and having that type of opportunity right here in our backyard, co-located between the university and the lab, that’s real opportunity.”
Dr. Mark Peters, director of INL, said working with ISU helps the lab because it offers more research resources and capabilities and it helps with its workforce.
“Being able to bring graduate students to the laboratory, interns, post-docs, and helping us to create that workforce of the future, working with the universities to develop that workforce is absolutely key,” Peters said.
He added by working together they’ve accomplished a lot in areas like, cyber security or nuclear energy, where they are developing new materials and fuels to power energy systems in the future.
Both Satterlee and Peters said they want to see the partnership continue and to grow and do more.
“The university provost and I just talked a week ago about the creation of a center for cyber security excellence," Satterlee said. "When it comes to making sure all these systems and all these energy controls are secure from a cyber attack, that’s a huge area for the nation going forward.”
“Grow the number of faculty that spend time at the lab, grow the number of internships for students at the lab, have our staff come down here and teach courses, collaborative research but actually come together to solve big challenging problems in energy and security," Peters added. “It’s been great but I think there’s a lot more we can do.”
INL is just one of 17 national labs in the U.S.