Raven Studies Glass Made By Nuclear Waste

The Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, promotes Catholic identity in public life by forming a new generation of leaders who unite faith and reason in their work. On Fellows Fridays, the Gregorian Institute will introduce you to some of these extraordinary students.

Joseph Barnes spent his summer looking at glass — but he wasn’t washing windows.

Gregorian readers might remember Joseph Barnes as the National Merit Finalist with a perfect ACT score who helped lead Benedictine College’s champion cross-country team.

The Cardinal Newman Society reported that “As a National Merit Finalist with a perfect ACT score, Joseph Barnes could have gone pretty much anywhere for college. He chose a faithful Catholic college recommended in The Newman Guide.”

Ironically, Barnes was at the canonization of Cardinal Newman last Sunday.

This summer, though, Barnes was doing specialized chemical work at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., on the surprising form nuclear waste takes.

Barnes is a Gregorian Fellow at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, in his final year as a Chemical Engineering student doubling in chemistry. He is from Spearfish, S.D.

He says he was investigating the model governing how glass corrodes in special conditions.

His Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship was at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“The most interesting part of my internship was learning how low-activity nuclear waste is stored,” he said. “I found out the common practice is to add materials to the waste and melt it into a glass wasteform.”

His work was geared toward securing that waste.

The South Dakota native had done a science internship in Idaho previously, and tried for the Pacific Northwest Lab opportunity, he said, “because it’s not humid there.”

Benedictine College offers ABET-accredited Chemical Engineering along with three other engineering disciplines.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.