The graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 are experiencing a unique time in history. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID‑19) pandemic, many students may not be receiving traditional ceremonies and festivities, and are transitioning or attempting to transition to professional careers at a time of great uncertainty and economic upheaval.
In this context and with the support of the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN), the NEA held an online event to celebrate and recognise the accomplishments of the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, especially those within the nuclear science and technology fields. Opening remarks were delivered by NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, followed by a keynote address by Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, United States Department of Energy (DOE).
The traditional charge to the graduates was given by Anne White, Professor and Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering, SoE Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The event also featured remarks by:
- Agneta Rising, Director General of the World Nuclear Association
- Chris Levesque, President and Chief Executive Officer of TerraPower (who also read a special message to the graduates from TerraPower Chairman Bill Gates [see below]);
- Joerg Starflinger, ENEN President and Executive Director of the University of Stuttgart Institute of Nuclear Technology and Energy System (IKE);
- James E. Hansen, Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute;
- Katie Mummah, MSc Class of 2020 and PhD candidate in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics at University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- Haruka Okazaki, final year undergraduate student in nuclear engineering at the University of Fukui, Japan.
The event was open to nuclear science and engineering students, faculty and young professionals worldwide, as well as to the interested members of the public.
Graduates and students were offered the opportunity to have their resume and skills listed for recruiters on the ENEN+ platform, an initiative supported by the European Commission (EC) and to take part in a survey to create a list of students from the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021, spotlight their achievements and signal their presence on the job market to potential employers around the world.
Watch the full video recording of the ceremony here: