Member Spotlight – Amy Hill

Education/Certifications:

B.S. Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University, 2013

Licensed Professional Engineer in North Carolina

 

Employment:

Duke Energy – McGuire Nuclear Station: Senior Reactor Operator Initial License Candidate (2020 – Present)

Duke Energy – Corporate: Nuclear Fuels Engineer (2014 – 2020)

 

Why did you choose the nuclear field or how did you end up in the nuclear field?

When I was 14 I went to a summer camp at Purdue University where I had the opportunity to take a quantum physics class (it was simplified a little for the age level).  Part of the curriculum was to tour the university’s particle accelerator and nuclear reactor.  The particle accelerator was big and orange and exciting, and everyone was wearing lab coats and talking to us about the work they were doing… then we got to the nuclear reactor.  Purdue’s reactor (PUR-1) is in a basement and very little about its exterior is flashy or exciting.  The other students were bored and falling asleep while the basics of nuclear energy were explained, but I was absolutely enthralled.  I called my parents later and declared I wanted to be a nuclear engineer.  They weren’t too inclined to believe me since I’d also recently decided I wanted to be a dolphin trainer after changing my mind about wanting to be an orthodontist.  But here I am, 17 years later with a degree in nuclear engineering and pursuing my Senior Reactor Operator license.  I fell in love with the concept of nuclear energy and the massive amounts of clean power it could generate, and I’ve been hooked on the field ever since.

 

What advice do you have for women in the nuclear field?

You have every right to your seat at the table!  So many studies have shown how diverse perspectives lead to better outcomes, so don’t be afraid to speak up even if you’re the only one with a different opinion.

 

Why did you join U.S. Women in Nuclear?

I was introduced to U.S. WIN while I was interning for Duke Energy.  I attended my first national conference as a student a few years later, and the empowerment I felt during those three days listening to what women from all over the industry had accomplished made me really value the organization.  I realized how important it is to build your network with people who can relate to you and may have gone through similar situations.  I certainly would not be where I am today without my involvement in U.S. WIN.

 

What do you think is the most important benefit of nuclear science, technology, or energy and why?

I think the most important benefit of nuclear energy is that it’s clean baseload generation.  It’s a great building block for other clean energy technologies to grow from.  We have the technology now, so we can power our communities as newer battery, solar, and wind technologies continue to develop.  Nuclear fits right in to a diversified clean energy strategy.

Member Spotlight: Price Collins

Education/Certifications

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)

Employment

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.

Member Spotlight: Tiffani Teachey

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.