DOE selects two S&T students for summer program at Argonne National Laboratory 

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On May 30, 2024

Ginger Ramirez, left, and Kaylee Denbo stand near the entrance of Argonne National Laboratory. Photo courtesy of Ramirez.

Ginger Ramirez, left, and Kaylee Denbo stand near the entrance of Argonne National Laboratory. Photo courtesy of Ramirez.

Kaylee Denbo and Ginger Ramirez, environmental engineering students at Missouri S&T, may not be on the university’s campus much this summer, but their absence doesn’t mean they will stop learning important skills for their future profession. 
Both students were awarded Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships from the U.S. Department of Energy and will spend 10 weeks working at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.  
This marks Ramirez’s second summer working at the national lab. In 2023, she worked with the division of nuclear, waste and site services, but her focus this summer will be with the division of energy system infrastructure assessment. 
“Last year, I didn’t do much actual research during my internship, instead focusing on learning about proper processes for the disposal of radiological waste,” says the senior from Ballwin, Missouri. “This summer, I’m going to work for a senior researcher and will mostly collect and process data to evaluate the potential impact of future bioenergy development on freshwater resources.” 
Her research experiences as part of S&T’s Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) program have covered a different topic, but she says she anticipates this program will give her a solid starting point as a researcher when she begins her new undertaking with the national laboratory. 
“My research at Missouri S&T is on phytoremediation,” Ramirez says. “More specifically, I am studying the ability of certain fungi to assist roots of native plant species with growing in soil contaminated with mine tailings. I was excited when I started on the project last year because I am most interested in doing research related to plants.” 
For Denbo, a senior from Rolla, Missouri, this will be her first time working in Argonne National Laboratory, but it will also be far from her first time being involved with research. 

She says her work for S&T’s OURE program has similar roots to her national lab internship in the sense that it relates to plants and improving the environment. However, her OURE project has covered the remediation of dioxane, a harmful chemical, from plants, while her internship at Argonne will focus on crops used for bioenergy. 
“For my internship, I will work with other students and members of Argonne’s environmental science research group and focus on using bioenergy crops to provide ecosystem services,” Denbo says. “Some of the services could include improved water quality, biodiversity, reduced soil erosion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These crops could be something a farmer could plant in the off-season that would improve their crop yield the next season.  
“This is something I’m passionate about because it has the ability to improve the environment for generations to come. 
She says this internship will help her have a stronger idea for what specific environmental engineering career path she will eventually take.  
“Having the ability to conduct research at S&T as an undergraduate student has been amazing, and this internship at a national laboratory will help take my skills to an even higher level,” she says. “Research is something I find very exciting, and this opportunity will allow me to explore what it would be like to do this as a career.” 
Dr. Joel Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and chair of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, says he is excited to see what both students take away from the experience and how they can use what they learn to support the department’s mantra to “change the world.” 
“Being accepted for this highly selective internship program and going to a national laboratory is a huge opportunity for our students,” he says. “Kaylee and Ginger are both already talented undergraduate researchers, so I know they will make our department proud and get the most they can out of this experience.” 
For more information about S&T’s environmental engineering programs, visit 

About Missouri S&T

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit

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One thought on “DOE selects two S&T students for summer program at Argonne National Laboratory ”

  • Ron Fluegge says:

    I participated in the UMR Co-op Program in 1968 and 1969 and worked at Argonne National Laboratory’s Zero Gradient Synchrotron. As a student it was a remarkable experience to have.

    Wish Kaylee Denbo and Ginger Ramirez the best