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Washington State University Engineering


Students in a Summer Biology Course Extracting DNA from Cheek cells

PNNL-WSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program

Tackle scientific challenges alongside some of the nation’s leading energy, environment, and national security researchers


Washington state is home to several research institutions, and Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are paving the way in clean energy, smart manufacturing, sustainability, and national security innovation. And they’re seeking fresh minds.

Through the PNNL-WSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP), Ph.D. students will earn a stipend along with benefits while working under a prestigious graduate committee on nationally relevant research. It is a unique opportunity to tap into the knowledge and world-class research infrastructure available at both institutions.

DGRP students will work with faculty at WSU and scientists at PNNL while completing their graduate coursework and subsequently transfer to PNNL for the remaining years of their PhD program to gain hands-on research experience with PNNL scientists. There will be opportunities in the following research areas:

  • Radiochemistry
  • Electric power and Smart Grid
  • Biofuels, bio-products, and catalysis
  • Environmental, water and soil science and engineering
  • and more

The Four-year* Program Includes:

  • Assistantship for financial support – salary, tuition waiver, benefits, support for mandatory fees
  • Oversight by graduate committee of nationally-recognized scientists
  • Collaboration with nationally recognized (and, in some cases, world-renowned) researchers
  • Access to world-class research infrastructure

*Additional support may be requested if Ph.D. program extends beyond 4 years

Applications Are Open

-Application deadline: February 2, 2018

-Award notification: February 28, 2018

Program Announcement (PDF)

Program Guidelines (PDF)

  • Objectives
  • Financial Support
  • Eligibility
  • Application

Apply Now


Questions? Email


2017 Cohort

Front row, left to right: Trent Graham (blue shirt), Jenny Voss (dark gray jacket), Priyanka Ghosh (purple dress), Justine Missik (blue shirt), Nadia Panossian (dark gray jacket)
Middle row, left to right: Malin Young (PNNL), Anthony Krzysko (blue shirt, gray jacket), Christina Louie (gray shirt/black jacket), Austin Winkelman (green striped tie), Stephen Taylor (blue striped shirt), Chris Keene
Back row, left to right: Lori Carris, Ralph Cavalieri, Ernesto Martinez-Baez (blue sweater with stripes)

Read the news release HERE.

PNNL 2017 Cohort

StudentStudent field of studyPI/ChairPNNL Faculty
Jenny VossChemical EngineeringNorbert KruseDaniel Perea, Arun Devaraj
Nadia PanossianMechanical EngineeringDustin McLartySrinivas Katipmula
Ernesto Martinez-BaezChemistryAurora ClarkGregory Schenter
Priyanka GhoshComputer ScienceAnanth KalyanaramanSriram Krishnamoorthy
Christina LouieChemical EngineeringSue B. ClarkSue B. Clark
Justine MissikEngineering ScienceHepping Liu Maoyi Huang
Xu LiuComputer EngineeringAssefaw GebremedhinAndrew Lumsdaine
Stephen TaylorSoil ScienceMarkus FluryCarolyn Pearce
Trent GrahamChemical EngineeringAurora ClarkKevin Rosso
Isaac JohnsonMaterial Science and EngineeringJohn McCloyTatiana Levitskaia
Austin WinkelmanChemistryYong WangYong Wang
Anthony KrzyskoChemistrySue B. ClarkSue B. Clark


Interdisciplinary Degrees

Interdisciplinary Degrees

The Graduate School administers three interdisciplinary degree programs, offering students an opportunity to tailor a unique program based on individual interests. Working with top-ranked research faculty at WSU, graduate students cross traditional boundaries and discover new insights to solve the world’s problems.

Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral

This doctoral program is individually designed to meet the professional interests and research endeavors of each student. Although the program maintains a high degree of flexibility, it is rigorous and requires the involvement of the graduate school and several academic units on campus. Students in this program work with an advisor and committee who oversees the development of each unique degree program

For detailed information, and who to contact, visit here.

Molecular Plant Sciences

Considered one of the top programs of its kind in the world, this program incorporates plant physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Faculty in this program include three National Academy of Science members and some of the most influential plant science researchers in the world. All students in this program receive some form of financial assistance, such as training grants, individual research grants, predoctoral fellowships, or teaching assistantships. First-year students visit several different labs during their first weeks to help make an informed decision about pursuing the specific science that interests them.

For detailed information and who to contact, visit here.

Materials Science and Engineering

This collaborative, vibrant program is the largest interdisciplinary doctoral program in materials science and engineering in the Northwest. The program enables students to access a wide range of research facilities from mechanical, materials, civil, chemical and bioengineering as well as physics and chemistry. Several faculty members have collaborations with the high-ranked Life Sciences Programs at WSU, and more than 50% are fellows and leaders of their professional societies. MSEP students take advantage of WSU’s strong ties to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory by  participating in a special research internship program that allows them to complete a portion of their research as a resident at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL.

For detailed information and who to contact, visit here.

News and Events

Graduate Students In The News

Graduate Students in the News

  • Kevin Gray and Afshin Kahn

    Improving Chemotherapy Treatment to Reduce Side-effects

    Two WSU doctoral graduates partner to become entrepreneurs

    By Kakali Chakrabarti

    When someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer, it can change your life perspective — and sometimes your life projectory. For Kevin Gray, a WSU doctoral graduate, the diagnosis drove him to a new research passion and creation of a biotechnology company to develop novel cancer treatments. Read more.

    Read Story
  • Nathan Grant

    Research to Feed the Future
    Doctoral student Nathan Grant joins the WSU/U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative through his research

    By Cheryl Reed

    Passion and compassion aren’t synonymous, but in the case of molecular plant sciences doctoral student Nathan Grant, the two provide the synergy for his research and future career goals. Working side-by-side with his faculty mentor, Dr. Kulvinder Gill, Nathan is helping develop a heat-tolerant variety of wheat that could be grown in some of the world’s most hot and hunger-challenged regions of the world. Read More

    Read Story
  • Following in his grandfather’s footstep

    Third generation Coug graduates with his Ph.D.

    By Frank McNeilly

    Exactly 47 years after Charles Heebner graduated from Washington State University with his doctoral degree, his grandson graduated with his. Charles, dressed in full-faculty regalia, attended WSU commencement on December 9, 2017, to hood grandson Craig Owen, who earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering. Read their story.

    Read Story
  • Derick Jiwan

    The Heart of WSU’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

    WSU post-doc Derick Jiwan and team are turning byproducts from the Greek yogurt industry into a healthy drink—while realizing a higher purpose for their scientific research

    By Kakali Chakrabarti and Ruth Williams

    The Greek yogurt industry produces thousands of gallons of acid whey – the unused liquid drained from yogurt to make it creamy. The cost of handling and disposing of all the whey, although rich in nutrition, has been a major expense to the industry—so researchers have been looking for a way to convert the whey into a useable and profitable product. A group of WSU students … » More …

    Read Story
  • Nancy Carvajal Medina
    Working to break stereotypes around homelessness and build more empathetic communities across the Palouse.


    By Kakali Chakrabarti

    Nancy Medina smilingHomelessness is a monumental, worldwide problem. According to the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 549,928 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in 2016. The majority (68%) stayed in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens, and 32% in unsheltered locations. More than one-fifth (22%) of homeless people were children … » More …

    Read Story
  • Ruby Siegel
    Doctoral student Ruby Siegel jumps ahead to a new career opportunity later in life

    By Ruth Williams

    Spokane native Ruby Siegel is not your average Washington State University Ph.D. student: she spent 17 years working in a clinical laboratory and raising a son between earning her degrees. At 43, she’s older than most of the other students in her research program in pharmaceutical sciences in the WSU College of Pharmacy. One of the youngest of her fellow students is only 20, and Ruby jokes that her son is older than that.

    Returning to school … » More …

    Read Story
  • Nicole Kelp
    Finding Your Graduate School Niche


    By Ruth Williams

    Earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees from one institution is more common now than ever before for a variety of reasons. While it does depend upon the student and the student’s research and connection with faculty, sometimes completing all degrees at the same institution has major advantages. Washington State University graduate Nicole Kelp is a good example.

    Nicole is a recent graduate of WSU’s Molecular Bioscience Ph.D. program, and currently works as an instructor for the university. Her doctoral research focused on uterine biology, specifically tracking one particular protein and linking it to miscarriage, infertility, and … » More …

    Read Story
  • Sylvia Omulo
    Seeking Solutions to Antibiotic-resistant Bacterial Infections

    Recent doctoral graduate Sylvia Omulo is working with a team of WSU scientists to stop the spread of untreatable infections.

    By Cheryl Reed

    sylvia omulo in laboratory

    Recent news reports have focused public attention on the alarming threat of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals. But the threat is truly global. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a focus of research at the Paul. G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University, and … » More …

    Read Story
  • The Calculus of Grace

    By Brian Charles Clark

    For Valerie Cheathon, it all adds up. She plans to earn a master’s degree in applied math so she can make movies. Sitting in the Compton Union Building on the Pullman campus of Washington State University one morning, she clearly sees the world as a weave of numbers—and stories.

    “I like applied math. You can help people with math. You can solve problems. Like, how much air conditioning is needed,” gesturing at the expanse of the CUB, “that’s a math problem. The doors are nodes and the connecting hallways get different values … » More …

    Read Story
  • McNair Scholars Program Grant Renewed

    Washington State University has been awarded a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Education grant for the McNair Achievement Program for five years, according to Raymond Herrera, director of the program. Read More

    Read Story