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Melissa Showers

Research Staff, Lockheed Martin


Supervising Faculty: David DonovanTed Biewer

A native of Cherry Hill, NJ, Missy received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Energy and Sustainability from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with dual minors in Energy Studies and Applied International Studies. During her undergraduate career, Missy participated in a variety of research projects, including wind turbine blade redesign, green roofing implementation, and the electric grid modernization. Entering the Bredesen Center, Missy shifted her research focus to nuclear fusion. She currently works on Proto-MPEX, a linear plasma generating device being developed at ORNL in order to study plasma-material interactions (PMI) for future fusion reactors. Missy’s research involves using a suite of diagnostic instruments, including infrared (IR) cameras, to identify where and how energy is lost from the Proto-MPEX system in order to improve the device’s PMI research capabilities and overall efficiency.

In the last year, Missy also contributed to a UT student-led comprehensive review of the DOE’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). A white paper summarizing the review and a user-friendly program (myCPP tool), designed to help affected state entities make decisions regarding CPP compliance, are both in development.

For fun, Missy enjoys running, swimming, hiking and other outdoor activities, reading, traveling, and relaxing with friends and family.


Power Balance and Efficiency Analysis of Proto-MPEX, using diagnostic instrument suite; keywords: heat flux, plasma temperature, power balance, IR camera, thermocouples


Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering; Energy Studies Minor; Applied International Studies Minor – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professional Service

  • Volunteer at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
  • Member of ‘Ask a Scientist’ club

Awards and Recognitions

  • Student Travel Grant to 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics (2015)
  • Joint Directed Research and Development (JDRD) Project Funding (2015)
  • Women of Wind Energy’s Rudd Mayer Fellowship (2014)
  • Total Summer School Scholarship & Certificate (2013)
  • Gordon Engineering Leadership Program: Year 2 Completion & Certificate (2013)


Showers, M., et al. (2016). Heat flux estimates of power balance on Proto-MPEX with IR imaging. Review of Scientific Instruments, 87 (11).


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