For the first time in the 23-year history of the Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship, the American Nuclear Society has selected two members to spend a year as “Beltway insiders.” The 2023 Congressional Fellows are Sarah Stevenson, a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering at the University of California–Berkeley, and Joseph Orellana, an engineer at GE-Hitachi.
"ANS is excited to host two Congressional Fellows in Washington, D.C., for the first time in the fellowship program's history,” said ANS public policy director John Starkey. “With the passage of last year’s infrastructure bill and the nuclear energy provisions included in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, the appetite for nuclear science and technology in our nation's capital is as strong as it's ever been. Sarah and Joseph will provide lawmakers with the technical expertise they need to start off the 118th Congress on the right foot."
Introducing Sarah Stevenson: An ANS member since 2016, Stevenson received her M.S. in nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley in 2020 and her B.S. in mechanical and nuclear engineering from Kansas State University in 2018. While she was an undergraduate, Stevenson was involved with the ROTC—culminating in being commissioned as a physics/nuclear engineering officer in the United States Air Force in 2018—and was a licensed senior reactor operator at the KSU TRIGA Reactor.
Stevenson also held various internships from 2016 through 2019 at the Idaho National Laboratory, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Sandia National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“It is an honor to be selected to serve as a 2023 ANS Congressional Fellow. I am excited to continue the important policy work of past fellows supporting nuclear’s role in the clean energy transition,” Stevenson said.
Introducing Joseph Orellana: An ANS member since 2016, Orellana attended North Carolina State University, where he received his B.S. in nuclear engineering (2016) and his M.S. in mechanical engineering (2019). He started his journey in the nuclear industry in 2016 with GE-Hitachi’s two-year Edison Engineering Development Program in Wilmington, N.C., a program that offers several technical rotations across GEH’s nuclear business.
Following his experience with the development program, Orellana worked for GEH performing fracture mechanics evaluations for existing nuclear power plants and as a plant safety analysis engineer performing standard reload transient analyses for the operating fleet. He is currently analyzing the Natrium sodium-cooled fast reactor selected by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Outside of work, Orellana stays connected with the ANS and North American Young Generation of Nuclear local sections.
“I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to obtain a deep understanding of the legislative process and to complement my nuclear industry experience by seeing firsthand how policy decisions on the Hill are shaped, especially during such an important and pivotal time in the energy industry,” Orellana said.
The term: Stevenson and Orellana will participate in the fellowship orientation program sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in September and will begin their fellowship terms on January 1, 2023.
“With two Fellows on the Hill next year, ANS will be in a unique position to provide significant technical assistance to the U.S. Congress on nuclear science, energy, and technology . With the increased focus on clean energy deployment and ensuring domestic energy security in Washington, D.C., Stevenson and Orellana’s different perspectives from their industry, academia, and national lab experiences will be invaluable,” said Harsh S. Desai, chair of the ANS Congressional Fellowship Committee and a former Congressional Fellow himself. He continued, “This a once-in-a-lifetime professional development opportunity will allow them to learn the art of policy-making and potentially pursue it as part of their careers beyond the Fellowship.”