The NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) is a unique opportunity for recent graduates to join the Nuclear Security Enterprise. These full-time, salaried positions offer a year of specialized, on-the-job training and the chance to tackle real-world challenges in one of NNSA’s program offices. Fellows develop technical and leadership skills to launch their careers with a full immersion in one of NNSA’s core mission programs.
What is your academic background/training?
Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Georgia Tech. I completed my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I got the chance to attend the Nuclear Chemistry Summer School at Brookhaven National Laboratory and spent another summer at a research experience for undergraduates at Jefferson National Laboratory.
What has been a highlight of your time with NNSA so far?
The training opportunities have been a huge highlight. I was able to attend a week-long Radiological Operations Support Specialist training through FEMA, DHS, and NNSA to advise and communicate about radiation to first responders in the event of a nuclear-related emergency, as well as take several online courses through other government agencies. I am also participating in Russian language training courses provided by NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs.
What has surprised you about the program?
I was surprised by the level of trust and responsibility given to fellows. We were treated as team members right away and integrated from the start into team and individual projects. It felt like a jump off a high dive when I had expected to only be allowed to dip a toe in the pool—a little scary, but very thrilling.
What advice would you give prospective fellows?
Start working on your communication skills! Coming from a science background, I would present my work a few times a year, to a very technical audience who all had a background similar to mine. I didn’t need to write much and when I did, I could spend a long time making it perfect. Since I’ve started the fellowship, I’ve had to communicate some very technical concepts to people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and I now do a lot of writing. I was very glad I had taken some writing-intensive, discussion-based classes in grad school—they were a good preparation for this year.
The NGFP is funded by NNSA and is administered by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Explore a career in nuclear security!