Skip to Content

College of Engineering and Computing

Our People

Faculty and Doctoral Students


Theodore "Ted" Besmann

Professor and Endowed Chair of the General Atomics Center for Development of Transformational Nuclear Technologies


Mark J. Noordhoek, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Noordhoek earned his bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan in 2009 before going on to earn his Ph.D in the same area from the University of Florida in 2014. His research interests include thermodynamic modeling of materials, crystallography and methodologies for materials discovery and design. He has computational materials science experience using first-principles (density functional theory), classical molecular dynamics and the CALPHAD method.


Stephen Utlak, Ph.D. Student

Utlak earned his master and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of South Carolina. He earned a bachelor's degree in bioengineering from Clemson University. His research focuses on using the CALPHAD methodology to thermochemically model vitrified high-level nuclear waste.

Gaston, Bem

Benjamin Gaston, Ph.D. Student

Gaston earned a Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University in 2008 and went on to earn a Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering from University of South Carolina in 2012. Research interest is the development of material models in the nuclear fuel performance code BISON. Current focus is the simulation of oxygen and fission product transport in light water reactor fuels using the equilibrium thermodynamic solver Thermochimica.


Tashiema Wilson, Ph.D. Student

Wilson earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of West Florida in 2015. She holds a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Fellowship which is supporting her pursuit of a PhD in nuclear engineering at the university. She is interested in the thermochemistry of advanced nuclear fuels for clean power generation. Wilson will be investigating the properties and behavior of uranium silicide-nitride fuels using both experimental and computational methods in a project joint with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Mallikharjuna R. Bogala, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Bogala received MS degrees in both Metallurgy and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alabama in 2015 and 2009, respectively, and his doctoral degree in Materials Science in 2016. These followed his obtaining a M.Tech. degree in Modern Methods of Chemical Analysis from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2004 after a 5-year Integrated M.Sc. in Chemistry from Pondicherry University in 2002.  Bogala’s research interests include synthesis of high-temperature materials by sintering and arc-melting techniques, carrying out mechanical, thermochemical and thermophysical property measurements using cracking/rupture tests, TGA/DSC, XRD, and SEM/TEM microanalysis, and CALPHAD assessments of the thermochemistry and phase equilibria of materials systems.