The American Nuclear Society has selected a Colorado School of Mines graduate as its Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow for 2017.
Levi Patterson earned a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Nuclear Engineering from Mines. He will work in the office of a U.S. senator or representative, or a Senate or House committee, and provide Congress with expertise in nuclear science and technology. Fellows are expected to gain a better understanding of how the legislative process works.
“I was encouraged by the tremendous progress the sciences were making in solving real-world energy issues,” Patterson said of his time at Mines. “Once I started working in the energy industry, I was again encouraged by the technical capabilities our society has invested in and are ready to implement.”
However, he said, turning scientific innovations in the energy sector into reality requires significant policy efforts. “It is important that more scientists and engineers pursue policy-related positions, and that is exactly what interested me in this fellowship,” Patterson said.
Patterson said Mines prepared him well for the fellowship, as well as for his position at General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy, where he has worked since 2013. He also credited Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Associate Professor Jeffrey King, a member of the Nuclear Science and Engineering program faculty, who served as his advisor.
“Public policy is intricately tied into the field of nuclear energy,” King said. “Indeed, recent events in the nuclear industry have as much to do with public policy decisions as they do to engineering and science.”
Students in Mines’ NSE program have the opportunity to learn about the many ways in which public policy and economics impact nuclear energy, King said. “Several of our graduates have gone on to play important roles in nuclear policy. Levi is an outstanding example of this.”
Patterson will be one of nearly 30 scientists and engineers who will take part in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Science and Engineering Program. More than 2,000 have served as fellows since 1973; ANS started its program in 2000.
The program provides a $60,000 stipend for the year, and up to $5,000 in reimbursement for travel to the AAAS orientation and the two ANS national meetings during the fellowship year.
In addition to competence in nuclear science and technology, the fellowship is awarded based on a demonstrated ability to participate in public policy discussions, written and oral communications skills, and contributions to ANS.
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