By Dr. Matthew Jasica and Alyse Huffman
What does it mean to be a leader? That question is at the heart of the Young Professionals Congress 2019 (YPC19).
YPC19 is a one-day event, organized by the ANS Young Members Group (YMG) and the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN). It occurs biannually the day before the start of the ANS Winter Meeting in Washington, DC. Sessions focus on a wide range of topics that may be of special interest to students and other young professionals. YPC19 takes place on Saturday, November 16.
This year’s YPC19 is going to see a stronger emphasis on professional development. The focus of the day’s sessions will be on the topics that do not usually get as much attention at other ANS meetings but are crucial for being able to step up as the next generation of leaders.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” is a mantra that many of us grew up hearing. Our keynote address on Crucial Conversations, given by motivational speaker Ms. Candace Bertotti, is directed towards being that change in the workplace—specifically focusing on high-stakes conversations where emotions and opinions can be strong. Additional leadership discussions and workshops will explore what it means to be a trailblazer in the workplace, the community, the world of policymaking, as well as how to learn to adapt from mistakes to improve team dynamics. The day will also offer ways to learn to navigate the professional landscape, including breaking into a career in the fast-paced realm of startups and managing career transitions while maintaining work-life balance.
YPC19 will also feature sessions educating attendees about contemporary topics and the state of the industry. Ideas such as big data analytics, machine learning, and additive manufacturing are shaping numerous technical fields, but how are they leaving their mark on the nuclear industry? How do the needs of domestic and international customers differ, and how should that shape vendors’ approaches to different emerging reactor technologies? What are the economic realities of building and operating a nuclear plant, and what needs to happen for nuclear to become competitive in the energy marketplace?
The biggest benefit of attending YPC19 is the connections to be made with other students and professionals, both seasoned and new. It’s been said one of the most important phrases for getting anything done in Washington is, “Let’s grab a coffee.” Just 10-15 minutes of meeting face-to-face to exchange ideas can make all the difference in finding the right collaborator to make your project idea a reality or landing the next job. Outside of coffee, the YPC19 luncheon, featuring experts from the ANS technical divisions, is a great place to make connections in the technical field or to facilitate further involvement in the Society. Evening socials on Friday and Saturday provide opportunities to discuss ideas from earlier in the day and make new friends. Finally, never underestimate the value of a quick handshake with a speaker after a session.
There is tremendous value in attending YPC19 as new participants or as veteran attendees, whether it is honing your professional skills, learning something new, or making valuable connections.
We’re very proud of our planning team for putting together this program and for their many hours crafting content, fundraising, and recruiting a wide range of speakers from all facets of the nuclear community. This year’s YPC will truly be an exciting event, and we look forward to seeing all of you there!
Register today! The add-on cost to the Winter Meeting registration is only $5. If you are unable to attend ANS Winter, the cost for the one-day event is $40 (ANS members) or $80 (non-members).
And please use the hashtag #ANSMeeting whenever posting to social media or to follow along on the conversation.
Dr. Matthew Jasica is a Postdoctoral Appointee at Sandia National Labs studying radiation damage effects. In addition to co-chair for YPC19, he is involved with YMG, the Fusion Energy Division, Education Training and Workforce Development Division, and Diversity and Inclusion in ANS Committee.
Alyse Huffman is the recipient of the 2019 ANS Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship currently working on the Energy Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Alyse is program cochair for YPC19 and is also involved with YMG, the Nuclear Criticality Safety Division, and the Membership Committee.