2018 | ANNUAL REPORT 21 contributions to INL’s nuclear structural materials initiatives.” Gan served as Sun’s mentor at that time, and the two continue to collaborate on research projects. Sun’s early education was in China (he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering from Huazhong Univer- sity of Science andTechnology and the Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Science, respectively), but he chose to pursue a doctorate at an American school,Texas A&M Univer- sity. “Obtaining a Ph.D. from the world’s best higher-education system helped me distinguish myself from my peers,” Sun said. His advisor, Professor Xinghang Zhang, inspired him to focus on nuclear materials research. Following graduation fromTexas A&M, Sun began research on radi- ation-induced solute redistribution in nuclear structural materials at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was a G.T. Seaborg Institute Postdoc- toral Fellow.When that fellowship came to an end, Sun set his sights on Idaho. “Idaho National Laboratory is the nation’s leading institute for nuclear energy research and devel- opment,” he said. “INL has many world-class research facilities, like the AdvancedTest Reactor, the Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory (IMCL) and the Electron Microscopy Laboratory (EML).” Sun, along with researchers from all over the country, does the majority of his work within the IMCL and EML. Heavily shielded, specialized instru- ments allow users to safely prepare irradiated materials (cut, slice and polish very small samples), and then examine them in electron microscopes at the micro, nano and atomic level. Working with NSUF, Sun continues his research while collaborating with experts and helping train the next generation of researchers. He has mentored several students from universities from across the country who come to INL and do research for their doctoral thesis. “Working at INL is a big plus to their career,” Sun said. “They are getting their research done and have published some high-impact journal papers.” Sun also works with local students, teaching a course on fundamentals of nuclear materials through the Idaho Falls branch of the University of Idaho. Sun enjoys working with his colleagues in facilities all across INL, from the AdvancedTest Reactor to the Materials and Fuels Complex to the High Performance Computing group in Idaho Falls. “One of the things I really like working at INL is that we always work together,” Sun said. “With working on radioactive materials, it’s very difficult for people to work alone. It’s always teamwork. Some people work on sample trans- portation, some people work on irra- diation, some people work on micro- structure characterization, and some people work on mechanical testing. Also, working with the modeling team is a fun part of our research – all of these people are needed to produce world-class research.” “One of the things I really like working at INL is that we always work together,” Sun said.