Dear NERS Community,
Welcome back to campus for the 2021–2022 year. Odd how impactful that simple phrase is but, after a year of working remotely, the opportunity to interact and to see people and to engage is incredible! Thanks to everyone who made last year a success (we are still the #1 ranked department in the country!)
Our big news is that we have moved back into the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project building. We are sharing the space with the Michigan Materials Research Institute. We’ve moved the Chair’s office over to Phoenix as well as a number of faculty, staff, and students. This co-locates most of NERS in Cooley and Phoenix as well as ties us physically closer to the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory that we commissioned in 2017. We are planning a big celebration in April 2022 and we hope a number of our alumni can join us.
We had some transitions. Gary Was retired. We are hiring a new faculty member with expertise in the socio-technical aspects of nuclear energy use, Assistant Professor Aditi Verma. She will start in fall 2022 and work closely with our new research scientist Denia Djokic. Ryan McBride received his tenure and George Jiao was promoted to Research Scientist. Ryan also was named the Director of the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Lab as Ron Gilgenbach decided to step down in May of 2021. Kristine Svinicki joined the NERS faculty as an Adjunct Faculty after stepping down as the Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Department lost a key member of the family when Emeritus Professor Ron Fleming passed away in June. He was still actively participating with the department and is sorely missed.
Other highlights from 2020–2021 include:
- NERS joined the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy leadership network
- The College of Engineering awarded NERS a number of awards to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts.
- Professor John Foster won Ronald C. Davidson Award for the journal’s most highly cited paper over the past five years
- NERS Alumni Dr. Valentin T. Jordanov was named an IEEE Fellow for contributions to radiation measurements
- NERS Senior Kaitlyn Barr was awarded the first-ever X-energy summer internship
- Professor Kim Kearfott was awarded a grant to develop an extended reality system to teach radiation protection
- NERS Students host a virtual Glow Blue class to introduce Detroit-area middle and high school students to fundamental nuclear concepts
We are back on campus, hopefully for good, and hope many of our alumni can visit us and see what we are up to.