Nuclear security program gives interns a double bonus

  • Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 4:47 pm

CNS Internship Program

Through online training and interacting with Craig Marianno, deputy director of the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives at Texas A&M, 28 interns received a nuclear security certificate this summer.

This year’s interns were offered an experience that not only broadened their awareness of what we do but also gave them something unique for their resumes.

Consolidated Nuclear Security coordinated a nuclear security certificate program through Texas A&M University and offered the training for free to interns with support from the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program.

A total of 28 interns — 7 from Pantex and 21 from Y-12 — benefitted from online training and interaction with Craig Marianno, deputy director of the Center for Nuclear Security Science and Policy Initiatives at Texas A&M. He recently closed out the program with an in person session at Pantex and a virtual session for Y 12 interns.

Ashley Stowe, CNS university relations program manager, said the program gives interns a leg up in their fields of study.

“The nuclear security certificate program provides interns with an excellent overview of the various aspects of nuclear security that Y-12, Pantex, and the Nuclear Security Enterprise consider every day,” he said. “This broad perspective of nuclear security topics combined with the interns’ specific summer projects gives them a unique advantage in their careers.”

Stowe said that while more than half the interns who participated were MSIPP students, all CNS interns were eligible to partake in this professional development opportunity.

In the paragraphs that follow, interns share why they participated.

“I chose to participate in the program because I knew certifications in any field are useful and can further my career. My interest in Y-12 is another reason why I decided to obtain the certificate, as I can see myself working here for some time! I have gained a new awareness from the program. It taught me different things to be aware of that I can use on a daily basis. It was a great experience overall, even though the modules were long.” — Noah Thomas, Y-12

“I really wanted to learn more about the fundamental and essential elements that make up a national nuclear security program, so participation in this program was the perfect opportunity to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do.

“It has definitely increased my awareness of how important securing nuclear and radioactive material of all types is, whether it’s in use, storage, or transport. The emergence of cyberthreats and other new technologies that might be used in attacks has also increased understanding of the need for nuclear security. We all have a part in supporting the mission, and I think that’s absolutely incredible.” — Marena Soulet Vargas, Y-12

“I chose to participate in the program because I enjoy learning new things, and I believe it lines up well with my field of study. Eventually, I want to end up in cybersecurity at Pantex, so having knowledge of nuclear security is a great first step.

The program is great for helping to understand the importance of nuclear security and safeguards and their relationship to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]. It also goes over a variety of threats that pressure the facilities from the outside and how to mitigate or ward off their efforts.” — Matthew Smith, Pantex

“I decided to participate in the certificate program to expand my knowledge of nuclear related material.

“The program has allowed me to see from a different perspective how beneficial nuclear material can be to humanity by creating clean energy and effective deterrents. The program also made me more aware of the drawbacks of nuclear technology if it gets in the wrong hands or is improperly used. I have learned how nuclear technology originated, which nations possess such capabilities, and the kinds of regulations that must be met for a state to possess it. The program has really helped me to understand what we do here at CNS and how nuclear technology has contributed to worldwide peace and our freedom.” — Chris Freire, Pantex

“I have had the opportunity over the past 2 years to learn about nuclear safety in our country. By taking this course, I am able to showcase what I have learned by being rewarded with a certificate that shows just a small piece of the dedication that I have to this field.

“This program has given me a chance to apply myself further in my internship by reinforcing my daytime working hours with nighttime study hours that push me to have a greater focus and understanding of the mission I have here as an employee, even if my employment is just seasonal.” — Matthew Fleck, Y-12

“I chose to participate in the certificate program because of the opportunity to gain new knowledge and understanding. Nuclear security is very important, and I wanted to take advantage of this program to broaden my awareness and comprehension of this topic.

“After completing the program, I now understand nuclear security in a more detailed way. I believe the program has helped me to develop new perspectives that will aid in my contribution to the overall mission.” — Cason Worthy, Y-12