LSU Physics Students Receive NRC Scholarship in Health Physics


LSU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy has announced Rebecca DiTusa and Khang Pham as recipients of the NRC scholarship program in health physics. A grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was established at LSU in 2017 supporting undergraduate students to explore careers in the radiation sciences through the field of health physics.

Newhauser with awardeesThe health physics field focuses on protecting people and the environment from radiation hazards. This typically includes making measurements and calculations, providing radiation safety training, and developing new radiation instruments and software programs. Health physicists find careers in hospitals, cancer clinics, research laboratories, universities, and nuclear facilities.

Baton Rouge native, Rebecca DiTusa is a junior who appreciates the opportunity the NRC scholarship provides to discover the aspects of the health physics field. “Along with physics, I have found interest in nuclear science and have decided to minor in it,” said DiTusa. “With the knowledge that I will gain in my undergraduate career, I hope to go to graduate school. By combining nuclear science and physics I will be able to apply my knowledge in either a research setting or a medical one. Receiving this scholarship has made me even more dedicated to continue on with getting a health/medical physics career as I feel I have been accepted into this community.”

Khang Pham a native of Vietnam, and a McNair Research Scholar, is a graduating senior, and is looking forward to furthering his research with the NRC award. “I have been given the opportunity to continue my nuclear physics research at LSU during the upcoming summer,” said Pham. “With the NRC grant, I can fully commit myself to my research. Furthermore, the research that I conduct in the upcoming summer will give me a much-needed head start into my graduate career.”

LSU’s medical physics and health physics program offers scholarships of $5000 each to fund undergraduate students in STEM fields who are interested in exploring careers in the radiation sciences. To be eligible to apply, students must be a full-time student enrolled at LSU A&M or Southern University in Baton Rouge and maintain a 3.0 grade point average.

LSU Professors Wayne Newhauser and Wei-Hsung Wang received a federal grant to fund the scholarship program. According to Newhauser, “LSU is truly fortunate to have received more than $1M in funding from the NRC to support our education and research programs in health physics. We will award additional undergraduate scholarships in the next year or so and encourage interested students to apply. We also received grants from the NRC to support graduate students and to hire two new faculty members. The demand for radiation professional is strong and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Nationally, there are many great career opportunities for young people in the radiation sciences, including specialties in health care, the environment, national security, and nuclear power. Locally, LSU has strong programs in radiation science and Louisiana needs radiation professionals.”

For more information on the LSU scholarship program in health physics, email Dr. Wayne Newhauser at