Written by David Goddard. Photos by Randall Brown and Lance Drouet.
Years of planning recently paid off for UT’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, as it hosted the wildly successful 2023 American Nuclear Society Student Conference, where it welcomed students from chapters from across the country.
It was so well planned and attended that it, in fact, set a record for the student conference, which has been taking place annually for decades.
“Needless to say, it was an overwhelming success,” said Postelle Professor, Chancellor’s Professor, and Department of Nuclear Engineering Head Wes Hines. “It was a great way to showcase the department, our facilities, and some of our partnerships, such as with ORNL, Y-12, and UCOR. I want to make sure the students that took part in planning it get the credit they richly deserve for putting on such a well-received event.”
To that end, Hines commissioned a plaque that will be housed in the Student Sections Suite in the Zeanah Engineering Complex stating: “In recognition of the University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering Department American Nuclear Society Student Conference Planning Committee for their Volunteer Spirit and Dedication to Excellence that made the 2023 American Nuclear Society Student Conference an overwhelming success.”
Conference Co-Chair Katy Worrell was quick to praise the six other students who served as directors on specific aspects of the conference, as well as the additional 22 students who had roles in various capacities relating to the planning and execution of the event.
“Along with our other Conference Co-Chair Emma Houston and directors Sydney Copp, Lance Drouet, Alyssa Hayes, Sophie Hitson, and Anthony Tom, we all worked really hard to help bring this event to life, along with the other students they worked with,” said Worrell, who also serves as an undergraduate research assistant in the department. “A lot of people put tremendous amounts of time an energy into this, and seeing it be so successful was gratifying for all of us. It was an awesome thing to be part of and to experience.”
Worrell also noted that Assistant Professors Sandra Bogetic, Livia Casali, Ivis Chaple, Deborah Penchoff, and Associate Professors Nick Brown and Jamie Coble brought great energy to helping plan and pull off the event, as did nuclear engineering staff member Ashley Nelkin.
“Members of our faculty and staff went above and beyond in helping us prepare to host the conference,” Houston said. “It was an all-around team effort, and all of that work paid off.”
More than 500 students attended the conference, with another 200 or so people from various institutions, research organizations, or industries also taking part.