Two Penn State students were selected to participate in the Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation that took place in Washington D.C. July 4–11. The delegation included 17 students from around the United States.
Sara Sarnoski and Kyle Hartig, both nuclear engineering doctoral students, got the opportunity to enter the world of politics for a week. The week started with writing a policy statement to outline political issues relevant to today’s nuclear engineering students. For the remainder of the week, students visited federal offices, including the Department of Energy, the Department of State, the Congressional Office of Management and Budget, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Near the end of the week, students met with congressmen and senators to discuss the policy statement they wrote. Students explained the importance of nuclear energy and stressed the need for funding in nuclear engineering education to ensure a continued workforce of qualified nuclear engineers.
“This was an invaluable experience to get hands-on nuclear policy experience while still in school,” Sarnoski said. “It was refreshing to be able to teach politicians about nuclear power, and help decrease the fear and misinformation around the word nuclear.”
The Washington Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation is an independently organized program with the goal of allowing students studying nuclear science and engineering to acquire hands-on experience with the political process to learn how they can make a positive impact on the future of nuclear energy, policy, education and research. Since the founding of the delegation, there have been over 140 delegates from 31 of the nation's most prestigious universities. The American Nuclear Society and the Nuclear Energy Institute sponsored the delegation.