By Ben Holtzman
For too long, graduate students have been inadvertently marginalized due to a lack of status recognition in the American Nuclear Society, but those days are now past. The ANS Board of Directors has unanimously approved the joint Student Sections Committee (SSC)/Young Members Group (YMG) proposal to offer free YMG membership to graduate students. This is a great day for all Young Members, regardless of whether they’re still in graduate school or not.
We in the YMG have discussed on many occasions our belief that including graduate students as Young Members would be an appropriate classification and would better assist in integrating graduate students into the fabric of ANS during a crucial juncture of their careers. Well, we now have our chance. Of course, YMG will benefit from this change not only because it will bring graduate students into our organization to be among their friends and peers, but YMG will also benefit through the influx of energy and ideas of our newly incorporated peers. But how did we get here?
This change would have been impossible without the support, initiative, and drive of many individuals. The process began when a YMG/SSC special subcommittee on retaining students and the YMG Executive Committee identified a need to automatically give graduate students YMG membership as a way to address student attrition. A proposed plan of action was taken to the YMG Executive Committee, the SSC Executive Committee, and the ANS Membership Committee to explain the proposed change and attain each respective group’s endorsement. In parallel, it became apparent that the YMG rules would need to be updated to allow for such a classification of graduate students as Young Members. This wording change was developed with assistance from the ANS Bylaws and Rules Committee (BRC) and sent to YMG for approval. After YMG approved the change, the BRC subsequently approved it as well.
This rule change, in conjunction with the endorsed proposal by YMG and SSC Executive Committees and the ANS Membership Committee, allowed for a formal proposal to the ANS Board of Directors to be drafted by motivated volunteers. It was this formal proposal that has been approved granting graduate students automatic and free membership in the YMG.
Therefore, on behalf of all Young Members, let me be the first to officially welcome all graduate students into the YMG. We look forward to working with you as we continue to make our Society truly the Society of choice for all nuclear professionals.
Ben Holtzman has been actively involved with the American Nuclear Society for 10 years. He has been on numerous governance committees and division executive committees, has contributed to an ANS Standard, and was a Presidential Executive Assistant. He is employed as a Senior Licensing Engineer, AP1000 International Licensing, at the Westinghouse Electric Company.