2011 ANS Student Conference at Georgia Tech

The Georgia Tech Student Section of the American Nuclear Society will host the 2011 ANS Student Conference on April 14-17, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

The conference is the nation’s premier venue for student professional development in nuclear science and technology. Students working in these disciplines gather with industry professionals to share and exchange research and ideas that are critical to the growth of the industry. The conference is an ideal occasion for students to interact with professionals, hear world-class speakers, network with recruiters, and gain real-world perspectives.

Conference participation by students and professionals has surged in recent years. In fact, the 2010 Student Conference at the University of Michigan had a record-setting 665 attendees. This increasing interest in the conferences provides unique opportunities for industry and academic collaboration and partnership. Integrating the successes of previous conferences with the opportunities available to Georgia Tech, the 2011 conference’s officers plan to take it one step further.

Below is a preview of the 2011 conference:

  • Seminars and workshops – A variety of technical and non-technical sessions focusing on unique topics will be offered throughout the conference.
  • Exhibit fair – The best recruitment and advertising opportunity is the student conference exhibit fair. Interact with more than 500 of the brightest students in the nation.
  • Student research presentations – Students will be showcasing their research through a variety of topic tracks mirroring the ANS divisions.
  • Professional keynote addresses – Talks and presentations from prominent industry professionals and scientists will bring distinct perspectives to the conference.
  • Second-annual public forum on nuclear energy – Expanding on the success of the University of Michigan’s conference, a public town-hall style meeting will be held with a panel of leading industry professionals to answer questions about and encourage the support of the nuclear industry.
  • Nuclear facility tours – Come see the nuclear renaissance at work!  Tours will include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Technical Training Center, the Vogtle nuclear power plant, and the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility.
  • “Nuclear in the Arts” night – A gallery showing of nuclear-themed art and a special performance of “Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie.”
  • Closing awards ceremony and banquet - Join us on Saturday night for a truly unforgettable experience at the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom.

For more information, visit the ANS Student Conference Web site. Student abstract submission is currently open. Registration will begin in early January.  We look forward to seeing you in April.

The conference committee chairs are:


Tim Cahill, General Conference co-chair, is a first-semester graduate student who became interested in nuclear science during his freshman year of high school after participating in a career research project.  Currently, Tim works in Dr. Nolan Hertel’s research group at Georgia Tech, and he would like to get involved in nuclear detection and nonproliferation upon graduation.


Amy Varallo, General Conference co-chair, is currently in her fourth undergraduate year at Georgia Tech. Her interest in nuclear engineering was born when she attended a lecture her sophomore year of high school given by Dr. Alan Waltar, about his book Radiation and Modern Life: Fulfilling Marie Curie’s Dream. Upon graduation this spring, she will remain at Georgia Tech for her Master’s degree in Medical Physics. One day she hopes to enter the field of operational nuclear forensics and non-proliferation studies.


Katherine Dextraze, Finance Committee chair,  got involved in nuclear engineering when she enrolled at Georgia Tech. Her interests turned to nuclear medicine when she took the Diagnostic Imaging Physics class. After finishing her undergraduate degree in NRE, she plans to enroll in a Medical Physics program with special interest in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging.


Brian Dyke, Publicity Committee chair, is a fourth-year undergraduate. Much of his interest in nuclear science can be attributed to growing up in South Carolina, where many of his neighbors worked at the Savannah River Site. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in the power generation side of the nuclear industry.


Briana Ferguson, Web Media chair, became interested in engineering in eighth grade after attending an “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” presentation at Georgia Tech, and was later inspired to focus on nuclear engineering by her calculus professor. After graduation, she aims to work for the NRC.

Tripp Jones, Technical Chair, received his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering at Georgia Tech in 2007, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Medical Physics. His research focuses on applications of gold nanoparticles to radiation-based therapy and imaging, and he is developing a fluorescence-based imaging modality to detect high-Z substances in small animals.  He hopes to find a job doing clinical research in radiation therapy.

Richard Meshell, Transportation chair, became interested in the nuclear field while he was studying physics and engineering at Auburn University. While his interests were mainly in nuclear physics, he also enjoyed the engineering aspects of his studies. He then decided to finish out his undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech in nuclear engineering. After graduation, Richard plans to attend graduate school and pursue a Ph.D in nuclear engineering.


Christina Neesen, Social Committee chair, has been interested in nuclear science since 8th grade when her class did a project on the pros and cons of nuclear power. After she gets her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and work with law makers to help increase the presence of nuclear power in the United States.

Alexandria Stephenson, Hospitality chair, was enticed by nuclear engineering after electing to take a physics class—and immediately switched out of her management major. Alexandria still has no idea what she wants to do with her life but is sure she’ll be happy as long as it involves the nuclear industry.

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