B.S. Nuclear Engineering: The University of Tennessee – Knoxville (2012)
M.S. Nuclear Engineering: The University of Tennessee – Knoxville (2014)
Graduate Certificate, Nuclear Security and Science Analysis: The University of Tennessee – Knoxville (2014)
Exelon Generation – Kennett Square: Nuclear Fuels, Fuel Reliability Engineer (2019 – Present)
Exelon Generation – Nine Mile Point (NMP) Nuclear Station: Mechanical Design Engineer (2015 – 2019)
Why did you choose the nuclear field or how did you end up in the nuclear field?
I had wanted to become an engineer since I was 14 and re-watched “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (no joke). I chose to go to school at Tennessee since I knew they were one of the few schools with a nuclear engineering program. I wasn’t sure I wanted to complete that program, yet I wanted the option at the school I attended. Late in my freshman year, I started to become involved in the student American Nuclear Society chapter and decided to stick with the program. I eventually started working for one of my professors and that led to working on small modular reactors and a “free” master’s degree. Working on all that, I knew I wanted to end up at a power plant on the front lines of clean electricity generation.
What advice do you have for other young professionals in the field?
- The professional world is entirely different from the academic world. Be prepared to relearn everything when you enter.
- Find a constellation of mentors. A diverse group of folks mentoring you is invaluable.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge the norms or experts.
Why did you join U.S. Women in Nuclear?
Julie Ezold (a.k.a., Nuclear Mom). She’s taught me why it’s so important to do STEM outreach for children, why diversity and inclusion matter, and has just been there for me if I need help personally or professionally. Without her positive and guiding influence in my life the last 11 years or so, I wouldn’t be close to the person I am today.
What is your favorite work memory or accomplishment?
I was the lead responsible engineer for a technical specifications change at NMP2 (same applied later at NMP1) before we could perform certain outage evolutions. I had to issue a large set of evaluations for these evolutions that would dictate what tech spec Operations had to enter. The changes reduced the outage dosage, freed up resources, and saved critical path time. This event was a first-in-the-fleet implementation, and the feedback from the project shift manager was overwhelmingly positive. As my first manager in the company Pat Bartolini put it, “If OPS loves it, then you know you did a great job”.
What is your favorite aspect of U.S. WIN?
The amazing friendship and network of folks willing to help each other at the drop of a dime. I’ve literally sent emails at 3 a.m. during outages to folks I’ve met through U.S. WIN to see if their plant has experienced a similar issue. I’ve gotten detailed emails back before my next shift with information I wouldn’t have been able to obtain as quickly otherwise.
Education: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Engineering Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Employment: Senior Mechanical Engineer, Westinghouse Electric Company
How did you end up in the nuclear field?
I ended up in the nuclear field as an intern at the Electric Power Research Institute while obtaining my graduate degree. After graduating, I was able to continue full time as a project engineer in the energy industry. Within these sixteen years in the industry, I have been able to take part in various nuclear projects, such as design engineering and construction of the pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant (AP1000), and I’m currently working on design engineering and plant modification at a nuclear fuel fabrication facility.
What advice do you have for other women?
Surround yourself with a positive circle of influence. Make sure to get a mentor and sponsor throughout your life and know that if you believe it then, you can achieve it.
Why did you join Women in Nuclear?
I joined WIN because it values the voices and advancement of women in the nuclear energy and technology industry where representation matters.
What is your favorite work memory or accomplishment? My favorite work memory was on 2020 International Women’s Day, my company’s Women in Nuclear (WIN) Chapter recognized me at the Celebration of Westinghouse Electric Company Women Achievement Reception. They acknowledged my work contributions, community engagement, and my bestselling children’s book What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z!
What is your favorite aspect of U.S. WIN?
My favorite aspect of U.S. WIN is being able to serve on my chapter’s Public Outreach and Professional Development committees and collaborating in coordinated activities with U.S. WIN members from other companies to promote nuclear awareness and public engagement.