The American Nuclear Society (ANS) fosters professional development and educational advancement among the nuclear community, playing an especially important role in the development of the future generation of nuclear engineers. As an active member of the American Nuclear Society – Texas A&M University (TAMU) Student Branch and doctoral student in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, Alexander Perry was honored to be elected to the Executive Committee of the Radiation Protection and Shielding Division (RPSD). Completing his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from TAMU and enrolling in their fast track Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering, Mr. Perry states that “the faculty and staff in the [TAMU] Nuclear Engineering Department promoted involvement in [ANS], helping me attend and present research at my first national meeting during my undergraduate degree … and I have attended every meeting since then.” Furthermore, Mr. Perry claims that “unparalleled mentorship from my adviser, Dr. Shaheen Dewji, helped prepared me for this role.” As part of the Executive Committee, Mr. Perry’s responsibilities to the ANS RPSD involve assisting in the planning of topical meetings for the national conferences and aiding in the execution of the International Conference on Radiation Shielding. With research interests in dosimetry, radiation therapy, and machine learning, Mr. Perry hopes to provide unique perspectives to the organization while also expanding his own knowledge from the experts in radiation protection and shielding.
Athena Sagadevan is a PhD candidate in nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives (NSSPI). Her work focuses on safeguarding spent nuclear fuel in dry cask storages by designing remote monitoring systems. Prior to that, Sagadevan received her B.S and M.S degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences from the University of Michigan in 2014 and 2016 respectively. There she worked with the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Group to assist in the design of a handheld neutron imager.
Sagadevan’s journey into nuclear engineering was rather unconventional. Having grown up in Malaysia and never heard of nuclear energy, she was set to pursue her future becoming an airline pilot. However, a surprising turn of event led her journey across the world to discover her passion in nuclear engineering.
After completing her Master’s degree with an emphasis in radiation detection and nonproliferation, Sagadevan was keen on pursuing an education that focused on deterring the spread of nuclear weapons. NSSPI was at TAMU was a huge draw as it was the premier institute for this field. It is the first U.S. academic institution that focused on technical graduate education and research to safeguarding nuclear materials and the reduction of nuclear threats.
While at TAMU, Sagadevan had the opportunity to take classes in nuclear security, safeguards and policy that broadened her horizons and shaped her views on this topic under the supervision of her adviser and NSSPI Director, Dr. Sunil Chirayath. She also had the opportunity to intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. “The education I received was beyond the classroom – for instance, to study the nuclear fuel cycle, I was sent to the UK (as a part of the nuclear field experience) to visit an enrichment plant, a fuel fabrication facility, a reactor, etc. Experiences like that translate to developing an immeasurable lifelong impact”, said Sagadevan. Armed with the knowledge and experience she has gained, Sagadevan wants to pursue a career in developing cutting edge technologies that can safeguard spent nuclear fuel. “This is a critical challenge that the world faces today, and I am in a position to help with that, thanks to my education at Texas A&M”.
Sagadevan’s journey in the American Nuclear Society started in 2014 when she joined as a national member. Since then she has been actively involved- She served as the Vice President for the ANS University of Michigan Student Chapter 2014 – 2015 where she oversaw community outreach and scholarships. She raised $12,000 for the student chapter to send 15 undergraduate students to the 2015 ANS Student Conference. Sagadevan has presented at student conferences and ANS meetings. In 2019, she was one of four who received the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the ANS Winter Meeting.
This year, Sagadevan has been elected as the Secretary for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Division (NNPD) of ANS. She hopes to utilize this opportunity to improve and exploit her technical skills as well as develop her leadership skills to be well rounded. “I am excited to take on this role and look forward to promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology through safeguards, security, and nuclear nonproliferation policies.” Sagadevan hopes to graduate with her PhD and work at a national lab where she can actively contribute to the development of safeguarding technologies.
Congratulations to both students and we wish them both successful terms as future leaders of the American Nuclear Society!