Robert (Robby) Renfrow is a PhD student in the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) Department at the University of Michigan where he researches radiation effects in advanced steel alloys. While at UM, Robby’s research has been focused on developing novel in situ S/TEM experimental techniques at the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory that enable real-time chemical mapping of tailored metallic nanostructures under ion irradiation. Generally, he is interested in advanced electron microscopy characterization methods, effective research communication techniques, and the development of novel materials for the use in advanced fission and fusion energy applications.

More broadly, Robby also dedicates efforts to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community amongst graduate students. In his first year of graduate school, he took over as the Graduate Student Council Chair for the NERS Department and reinstated a team of students that facilitate events focused on promoting a scientifically oriented, inclusive social environment for the entire NERS department. Before arriving at UM in the Fall of 2021, he obtained his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. While there, he gained an interest in clean energy technologies which led him to pursue a graduate education in nuclear engineering.


  • Advanced nuclear reactor structural materials
  • Novel materials characterization techniques
  • Effective research communication
  • Data analytics and visualization


  • BS in Mechanical Engineering, 2021

    Lipscomb University