High School Students DREAM of Careers in Engineering

Theresa Clark

As you would expect, the NRC employs technical staff in various engineering and science fields, from materials engineering to hydrology. We frequently recruit at colleges and universities to publicize our opportunities and find talented students who can become the nuclear professionals of tomorrow. Occasionally, our outreach extends to high-school and middle-school students, who may not have considered careers in our field but still have plenty of time to pursue that track.Last month, the NRC participated in the University of Maryland’s Women in Engineering DREAM Conference. “DREAM,” which stands for Developing Revolutionary Engineers and Mentors, was a free one-day event attended by hundreds of local high-school students and their parents.

The participants could choose from a number of exciting activities, including panel discussions by current students and engineering professionals, a presentation on the university’s sustainable WaterShed house, and planning sessions on college applications and financial aid. They also heard a motivational talk during lunch from a Northrop Grumman manager who fought to create a technical career for herself, starting from the moment her school administration said she had to take home economics instead of technical drawing.

Three NRC volunteers were active participants in this event. Theresa Clark of the Office of New Reactors — a University of Maryland (UMD) graduate in materials science and engineering — spoke about her NRC experience as part of a “DREAM Jobs” panel in the morning. The students and parents asked great questions about fun parts of the panelists’ jobs, how internships play a role in finding a career path, and whether the panelists had created a good balance between work and family life.

In the afternoon, I joined Suzanne Schroer of the Office of New Reactors (also pursuing a master’s degree in reliability engineering at UMD) at an information fair for the participants. For the better part of an hour, we told students what the NRC does, fielded questions, and gave out brochures and other materials to promote careers at the NRC.

Though these students still have years of education ahead of them, we hope that outreach opportunities like this one will help develop a future generation of technical professionals. We look forward to seeing some of them apply to NRC jobs in the future!

Kim English
Office of Human Resources
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