Nuclear engineering students travel to D.C. to learn about policy


Two Penn State students were selected to participate in the Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation that took place in Washington D.C. July 4–11. The delegation included seventeen students from around the United States.

Sarah Sarnoski and Kyle Hartig, both nuclear engineering doctoral students, got the opportunity to enter the world of politics for a week. The week started with writing a policy statement to outline political issues relevant to today’s nuclear engineering students. For the remainder of the week, students visited federal offices, including the Department of Energy, the Department of State, the Congressional Office of Management and Budget, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Near the end of the week, students met with congressmen and senators to discuss the policy statement they wrote. Students explained the importance of nuclear energy and stressed the need for funding in nuclear engineering education to ensure a continued workforce of qualified nuclear engineers.

“This was an invaluable experience to get hands-on nuclear policy experience while still in school,” Sarnoski said. “It was refreshing to be able to teach politicians about nuclear power, and help decrease the fear and misinformation around the word nuclear.”

The Washington Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation is an independently organized program with the goal of allowing students studying nuclear science and engineering to acquire hands-on experience with the political process to learn how they can make a positive impact on the future of nuclear energy, policy, education, and research. Since the founding of the Delegation, there have been over 140 delegates from 31 of the nation's most prestigious universities. The American Nuclear Society and the Nuclear Energy Institute sponsored the delegation.


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Shea Bracken



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519