Thank You for Your Support, and Your Patience: Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

This issue has been a long time coming. I’ve learned so much throughout the process of producing these first two issues, and I’m excited to continue publishing The Noodle. I can’t do it alone, and we need more and more help if we want to reach an even wider audience.

I just got back from the ANS Student Conference in Gainesville, which was the first conference I’ve ever been to. I got to meet tons of amazing people from all around the country, all of them determined and driven to make a difference in the nuclear industry and the world as a whole. I’m planning on writing a more extended piece on the conference for the next issue, incorporating material from several interviews I conducted with some of the incredible people I met at the conference.

I had a great time at the conference, but I also learned two important lessons. The first, which I made one of my goals for the conference, was to listen. I’ve always had a habit of getting excited and talking over people and interrupting them, and I found that the more I listened, the more I learned. Respect is empowering, and it’s easy to be disrespectful when you don’t listen.

The second lesson I learned was one about ANS national. ANS is a wonderful organization that connects professionals across the country, but much like the nuclear industry itself, it is an old organization. The leadership of ANS recognizes this, and we were told on multiple occasions that the national organization looks to the student sections across the country for  new inspiration and ideas on how to promote the nuclear industry. Even so, I can’t help but think that ANS fails to realize just how much they need us. The leaders of ANS need our help; they have a poor social media presence, they don’t consistently interact with students outside of conferences, and they don’t always understand the difference between simply wanting to be more diverse and inclusive, and taking actions and behaving in a way that leads us to that goal.

A few years ago, ANS ramped up their social media presence, but it means nothing if we aren’t interacting with their content by liking, sharing, and commenting on their posts.  If we show that we care about what they are posting, they will start to see more value in getting executives in the society directly involved. We need more opportunities for students to make their voices heard in the national organization, by funding more students to attend conferences, putting students on executive boards, and increasing the number of professionals from each division that attend the student conference. ANS also needs to start doing more of their own nuclear advocacy, instead of relying on other organizations to do it for them. A great way to do this would be by creating a professional division for outreach, which would be a prime place to have students in high level leadership roles.

I admire the leaders of ANS national for the work they have done in their great careers, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. But it’s time for us to take the torch. We are the future, and the future only happens if we make it a reality.

The Nuclear Noodle is a way to get more people thinking about nuclear. We want to give students a voice that can reach not only other students, but also the professionals in the industry that we need to support us by being teachers, mentors, and role models for us. Please contact us at ans.utk@gmail.com or comment on one of our articles. Share them on social media. Talk about them with your peers, your advisers, your grandma, even your dog. 

Thank you for your support,

Robert Corrigan , Editor in Chief

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