National Nuclear Security Administration

Academic consortium takes learning about nuclear science on the road

December 13, 2018

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The Nuclear Science and Security Consortium (NSSC) – an NNSA-funded academic program led by the University of California, Berkeley – took their mission on the road to reach a broader audience in 2018.

The consortium of eight universities took a creative approach to educating and training the next generation of nuclear professionals.

“NSSC spearheaded many activities this year to give students and mentors throughout the Nuclear Security Enterprise a chance to build connections and showcase their work,” said Dr. Edward Watkins, Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development. “These activities allowed consortium participants to work together on creative projects and update peers in person on progress of their research.”

One of the first events to take center stage took place at NNSA’s annual University Program Review hosted by University of Michigan in July. Along with partner consortia, NSSC fellows presented their work to peers and other nuclear security professionals.

During the summer break, Fellows participated in a weeklong boot camp, which was a science- and policy-based immersive experience and was hosted by The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The seminar emphasized the NSSC’s unique focus on a more inclusive science-technology policy interface.

During the boot camp, Fellows practiced methods to communicate complex science simply. They challenged each other in a panel session that put each participant in a position leaders often face – responding effectively to questions posed by the public, media, and stakeholders.

Other Fellows spent their summer at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The eight-week intensive research internship exposed them to the lab where they worked under the mentorship of scientists in lab-directed research in physics, nuclear engineering and nonproliferation, space research, and applied technology.

Wrapping up a busy year, NSSC Fellows held their annual workshop at Sandia National Laboratories in California in October. While other college students returned to campus this fall with fleeting vacation stories, NSSC fellows could share stories about their substantive contributions to the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

The NSSC is headquartered in Berkeley and consists of partner institutions throughout the nation.