B.S. Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University, 2013
Licensed Professional Engineer in North Carolina
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.