Background: I’m an active-duty Army nuclear and counterproliferation officer pursing a masters degree in nuclear engineering in the Woodruff School and I am set to graduate in Spring 2022. I graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2012 with a degree in nuclear engineering and commissioned as an engineer officer. My most recent military assignment was as an engineer construction company commander in Fort Hood, Texas. I also received a master degree in engineering management from the University of Missouri Science and Technology in 2016. I’ve been married to my lovely wife Lauren for 5 years.
Where are you from?
I am from Colorado Springs, Colorado but I was raised in an Army family, so I’ve lived all over the world.
What made you choose to go to Georgia Tech?
Its location in Atlanta which allowed my wife, Lauren, the maximum opportunities for employment as an architect and the university’s exemplary reputation as a top tier engineering graduate school.
What got you into Nuclear and radiological engineering (NRE)?
I love the fact that NRE touches on such a broad range of engineering disciplines (civil, mechanical, electrical, etc.). The scope of the field really sold me on it.
What about graduate school initially interested you?
I’m always seeking to challenge myself and graduate school felt like a great opportunity to build on my NRE undergraduate degree.
How did you find the transition from undergrad to graduate school?
Having graduated from my undergraduate program in 2012 I was a little ‘rusty’ on the whole school thing to say the least, but I feel into a grove pretty quickly with some help from my classmates.
What are your thoughts on the U.S. Army Advanced Civil Schooling Program, and how do you think it has helped you pursue a higher education?
The ACS program has been essential in me pursuing higher education. Not only does it support me financially, but it provides me two full years to step away from the Army and fully devote myself to my studies.
What do you enjoy the most about NRE?
I enjoy the relatively small size of the department; this allows real relationships to develop between students and professors in addition to strong peer connections.
Your research in molten salt rectors recently received an award from the American Nuclear Society Radiation Protection and Shielding Division for your presentation at the ANS 2021 Annual Meeting. What impact do you think this award will have on your research moving forward?
Its always nice to be recognized for your efforts and I hope this recognition compels more individuals to study these reactors because they really can address some of the shortfalls in current commercial reactors across the world.
Which of your accomplishment so far are you are the proudest of?
I’m truly proud of contributing to the NEXTRA consortium as they pursue the design, licensure, and construction of a molten salt research reactor at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. The fact that my work is informing design decisions about this reactor is very motivating.
What are your plans once completing your master’s degree?
Once I graduate this Spring, I’m heading back to my alma mater, West Point, to be an instructor in the Physics and Nuclear Engineering Department for about three years.
Outside of your current pursuit of education how do you like to spend your free time?
I like to consider myself a fairly active guy, I enjoy biking and kayaking with my wife as well the occasion half marathon.
How would you describe your overall experience at Georgia Tech?
Extremely positive. Georgia Tech has shown continued investment in its students, that coupled with generous resources and flexibility in my studies have made my two years a truly worthwhile experience.
What advice would you have for students considering graduate school?
Do it, regardless of your program of study, graduate school really teaches you how to work in less prescriptive environments. This skill can benefit an individual in any profession.