NEDHO diversity panels inspire and raise awareness

March 5, 2024, 7:03AMNuclear News

The NEDHO Diversity Panel featured, from left, University of Michigan professor John Foster; Jeffrey Harper, then a vice president at X-energy; William D. Magwood, director general of the NEA; and Londrea Garrett, a Ph.D. student at UM. (Photo: Aditi Verma/University of Michigan)

The Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) has been sponsoring Diversity Panels since October 2022, when the inaugural meeting was hosted by the University of Tennessee Department of Nuclear Engineering. The panels were established as a distinguished speaker series by a working group led by Wes Hines, head of the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering, and Todd Allen, a former NEDHO chair and the current chair of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) at the University of Michigan.

Allen explained that the panels are meant to be “a first step toward improving the diversity of the talent entering the nuclear science and engineering fields.” The idea came from a presentation by Andreas Enqvist, director of the nuclear engineering program at the University of Florida, at the November 2021 NEDHO meeting. According to Allen, Enqvist described “ASEE [American Society for Engineering Education] data on how poorly the nuclear engineering field was doing at getting black students to study nuclear at the B.S. level and, even worse, how few moved from B.S. to graduate programs.”

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