By Kalin Kiesling
For me as a student, attending the ANS Student Conference is the highlight of my spring semester. Is it because I get to meet new professionals in the field and learn what they do? Or is it because I get to reconnect with other students from around the nation that I only get to see at conferences? Or maybe it’s that I get to travel to another university and learn about their nuclear program and the city? Really, it is a combination of all these things that make me very excited to be attending the 2017 ANS Student Conference: “Dispelling Nuclear Myths” at the University of Pittsburgh, April 6-9.
The student conference is typically attended by more than 400 students and 100 professionals from around the globe every year. This year should be no different given the exciting line-up of events the University of Pittsburgh conference planning committee has put together. The planning committee has been working tirelessly over the last year to ensure sure that every student and professional who attend this year will be as excited to return in future years. Highlights of this year’s conference include two opening Breakfast Plenaries. Breakfast Plenaries are a new event for the student conference this year, but they are sure to be a hit and get everyone started for the day thinking about big nuclear topics. The Friday morning plenary “The Iran Nuclear Deal” will focus on the long-term implications of the Iran deal, and the Saturday morning plenary “Economics of Nuclear” will focus on how low-carbon policies and economics play a role in the future of nuclear. Other highlights include the Innovation Competition where students present their own innovations in nuclear science, tours of research labs at the university and nearby facilities, and a workshop on nuclear policy. With all they have planned, there will be no shortage of knowledge to be gained.
With over 500 people attending, one can expect endless opportunities to network as well. Students will be able to attend what is probably considered the largest career fair for nuclear engineering students in the nation. This year a total of over 40 companies, national labs, and universities will be at the career fair. So students, if you are looking for an internship or job or graduate school, be sure to bring copies of your resume! And for those of us who aren’t looking for a job yet or perhaps already have one, that doesn’t mean we can’t take this opportunity to network. Bring business cards if you have them or be prepared to exchange contact info with people. Regardless of where you are in your studies or career, you are almost guaranteed to meet new students and professionals, and if you return to the student conference in future years, you will see most of them again.
As excited as I am to learn about new topics in nuclear and meet new people, I am also as excited to be in Pittsburgh and learn what the university and city has to offer. Part of the experience of attending the student conference is learning about the culture of the city and university. The planning committee has set up many wonderful opportunities for us to explore the area with tours of the university campus and the city, dinner at Heinz Field (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), and evening socials. Even the Omni William Penn Hotel, where the conference will take place, is an original Pittsburgh speakeasy!
Hopefully after reading about the great opportunities for building your network and knowledge that exist at the 2017 ANS Student Conference hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, you have decided to attend. There is still time to register and receive the early registration discount, but hurry because the offer ends March 1. Be sure to register soon!
Kalin Kiesling is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been an active member of ANS since 2011. She was a cochair for the 2016 ANS Student Conference in Madison, Wis. and has attended the student conference every year since 2013. She is also very involved in ANS National as the Student Director, member of the Student Sections Committee, and member of the Young Members Group.