By Lane Carasik
As students in engineering programs, we rarely have the opportunity to learn about, or advocate for, the politics behind the technology that we discover and develop. Although these opportunities are rare, they do exist and one such opportunity is the Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation or NESD. The NESD is an independent student run organization that is supported by the American Nuclear Society and the Nuclear Energy Institute. For one week each summer, the selected delegates receive a fast-paced learning experience that includes meetings with government agencies, industry stakeholders, and past delegates. During this week, the delegates go through a policy boot camp learning how policy is formulated in the United States and what issues currently affect the nuclear engineering field. The delegates then apply this knowledge to write a policy statement that is used for meetings on Capitol Hill. At the end of the week, the delegation meets with several Senate and House offices to advocate for nuclear engineering education funding and current issues such as national energy policy or used fuel management. The delegation is a fantastic opportunity for any student in nuclear science and engineering or related majors. It provides a unique opportunity for the student community to better understand how our field is intertwined with the politics of the nation.
Today’s matinee video shows a presentation given by two 2015 delegates, Remy DeVoe and Blake Palles, during the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Nuclear Engineering Department colloquium series about the NESD. This video provides information regarding the delegation, and also highlights the current policies and issues related to the nuclear field that are being discussed on the Hill.