Hitchhiking with young nukes
As I told you in my last post, I attended the first ever Young Professionals Congress, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to a Career in Nuclear meeting today. The diverse group of about forty – about half of them women – nuclear professionals and students included people associated with national laboratories, universities, power plants, corporate headquarters, power plant vendors, medical physics, and professional technical societies.
The agenda was useful, and a number of sessions sparked energetic give and take between the speakers and the audience. Unfortunately, there were so many sessions on the schedule that question sessions had to be cut short in order to move on. Fortunately, the speakers and the attendees will have additional opportunities to engage with each other – the Young Professional’s Congress will be immediately followed by the American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting.
Not only did the new professionals hear people introducing them to the concept of getting involved in a professional technical society, but they were also provided some immediately useful career advice about how to dress in the workplace. This session even included some volunteer models demonstrating good ways to NOT dress.
In another session, the attendees were encouraged to start their own blogs – what a great idea!
There were a number of members of the European Young Generations Network who were having a meeting in the same hotel; they joined us for a session describing the current state of affairs in Europe. Speakers included a member from the UK, one from Sweden, and one from Croatia.
The description of next summer’s International Youth Nuclear Congress in Stockholm, with a side trip to the western coast of Finland sounded very enticing. The opportunity to tour the construction site of the first new nuclear plant in Europe in 15 years is probably worth the cost of the meeting, even at the higher rate that people of more advanced ages – like me – will have to pay.
The “Hot Topic” talk of the day was a tag team event featuring Dave Henderson of the US Department of Energy and Ken Shultz of General Atomics who described the background and current status of the nuclear candidate systems for producing hydrogen, both for direct use in fuel cells and as an ingredient in synthetic fuel oil that can be a direct replacement in diesel and gasoline engines.
Another highlight of the day was when the group split into three smaller groups for breakout sessions – Time Management, Building Collaborative Relationships, and Talking about Nuclear to our Neighbors and Friends. Sometimes, I am sure that my own neighbors, friends, and relatives wish that I would attend a session about how to STOP talking about nuclear energy.
That is why I have started blogging – this way I get to express myself for people that might even want to listen to what I have to say. The people that are close to me have heard it all already.
Now it is off to a reception and more opportunities to meet up with old friends.
(Note added on November 25, 2005)
If you are interested in hearing some of the talks, you can find them at