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Ph.D. student Barbara Rutter discovered that she would like to work for the Department of Justice on counter-domestic terrorism research after she graduates, thanks to an educational program offered by the U.S. Army. Rutter, a graduate student in explosives engineering and a veteran of the U.S. Marines who served a tour in Afghanistan, was selected for the Army Educational Outreach Program’s (AEOP) College Qualified Leaders (CQL) program. She was featured in the AEOP Alumni Spotlight newsletter in March.
In the program, students are paired with Department of Defense scientists in a one-on-one mentorship apprenticeship. Rutter also received a Technical Symposia Award that covered her travel expenses for the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) conference on explosives and blasting technique. She presented her research at the conference, held in January in Florida.
Rutter was paired with a mentor in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They tested a prototype to determine the speed of sound in powdered explosives, verifying the speed of sound in air and water.
Rutter says the program also helped her identify her doctoral research project in the arena of counter-terrorism. The findings could ultimately lead to better-designed blast- resistant structures. She is a Ph.D. student of Dr. Catherine Johnson, assistant professor of mining and nuclear engineering. She is now studying the effect of explosives on different materials.