By Aristidis (Aries) Loumis
The Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation (NESD) was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had as a nuclear engineering student. In the summer of 2017, I traveled to Washington D.C., for one week to work alongside other students from around the country, and to interact with policymakers on matters revolving around all things nuclear.
I was really unsure of what to expect (and a bit apprehensive) about my first visit to where all of the decisions over our lives as U.S. citizens are made. Despite my angst, in the end, I found it to be an amazing experience to finally become a part of the national conversation on nuclear issues. And our conversations didn’t just focus on nuclear power, but they included nuclear science, technology, medicine, national security, innovation, non-proliferation, and education!
As much as the Delegation wants you to bring your own knowledge and experiences to share with other students and policymakers, the trip is full of educational experiences, too.
The first half of the week in D.C. is like a policy bootcamp. We had meetings with current Congressional staff members to learn more about the legislative process, and worked as a student delegation to write a policy statement that advocated for the issues we thought were most important. We also traveled all around D.C. meeting with different federal agencies and advocacy groups. I learned so much while meeting with staff from places like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the D.C.-based think tank Third Way, and of course the Nuclear Energy Institute. With new experiences, and a new-found knowledge about nuclear policy, we were ready to head to Capitol Hill!
The second half of the week focused on the policy statement that the student delegates had authored and communicating its important topics to the policymakers on the Hill. While it can be intimidating at first to walk into a Congressional office, we were all given the opportunity to share our own experiences and advocate for the issues and policies that we thought were important. To get an idea of what we advocated for last year, check out the 2017 NESD Policy Statement.
The trip also allowed time to see a plethora of monuments and granite buildings galore while exploring D.C. This perk just added to the excitement of the week!
Would I recommend this opportunity? Definitely! NESD is a great chance for any student interested in nuclear science and technology, but that doesn’t just mean it is limited to students only in science and engineering. NESD seeks delegates with diverse academic backgrounds and experiences, so any undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in nuclear policy should apply!
To apply for the 2018 Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation please prepare and submit all of the application materials by Sunday, April 15, 2018.
Aristidis (Aries) Loumis is a Nuclear, Plasma, & Radiological Engineering student, with a concentration in Power, Safety, and the Environment. He has research experiences in modeling synthesis of bio-diesels, real time geospatial analytics using radiation detection, the environment, energy policy, and waste management. He is a member of the ANS Social Media Team & Founder and CEO of Lumos Industries.
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