National Nuclear Security Administration

Teachers of now-NNSA fellows inspire passion, gratitude, and perseverance

May 10, 2019

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Henry Adams wrote: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Although we may not know much about eternity – despite the best efforts of some scientists at our National Laboratories – as America celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6th to May 10th, it is clear that the influence of many teachers is present here at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity for recent graduates like Matthew Tweardy to join the Nuclear Security Enterprise.
Matthew Tweardy

“My professor, Dr. Jessica Uscinski, took a chance on me,” while he was an undergraduate at American University, says Dr. Matt Tweardy, an NNSA Graduate Fellow working in the Office of Defense Program’s Domestic Uranium Enrichment Program Office. “She reignited my passion and talent for science and engineering and inspired me to continue along the path I am on today.”

Dr. Karen Ventura, an NGFP Fellow
Dr. Karen Ventura

Dr. Karen Ventura, a graduate fellow working in the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, expressed similar gratitude for her graduate advisor at the University of Texas-El Paso, Dr. Dino Villagran.

“He helped me find my passion for physical and inorganic chemistry and supported me throughout my journey to obtain my Ph.D.,” she said. “I will always be grateful for all the opportunities he facilitated.”

Dale E. Karas, NGFP fellow
Dale E. Karas

One graduate fellow was even moved to poetry remembering how his doctoral advisor taught him “To seek truth in all things, to inspire innovation/To uphold ethical standards concomitant with my vocation.”

More prosaically, perhaps, Dale E. Karas of NNSA Defense Programs’ Office of Cost & Policy Analysis added that he wanted to express his “enduring gratitude” to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Dr. Jaeyun Moon, and that “your instruction, compassion, and patience have meant the world to me.”

The leadership of the NNSA adds its appreciation to these science professors, as well as all teachers from K-12 to doctoral programs for their tireless efforts to stimulate and develop the minds of America’s youth, and help to build a stronger tomorrow for us all.