Nuclear engineering students win honors at national student conference

April 11, 2019 - By Kim Delker

NE winners
Professor Christopher Perfetti (center) with winners Ramda Galo Mairena and Andrew Hahn

University of New Mexico Department of Nuclear Engineering students traveled recently to the 2019 American Nuclear Society Student Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

Nine students and a professor, Christopher Perfetti, attended from UNM, and two students won Best Presentation awards:

  • Andrew Hahn for "Nuclear Space Power Reactor for Surface Power" with design team members Melissa Andrea Moreno, Karissa Currie, Juan A. Dominguez, and Deep Patel.

  • Ramda Galo Mairena for "Nuclear Thermal Propulsion: Molten Uranium with Single Crystal Tungsten Cladding," with design team members Mauricio Mendoza, Dean Lopez, Quoc Duong, and Deep Patel.

“This conference allows students a chance to present their undergraduate and graduate research and is often students' first experience speaking in a professional setting,” Perfetti said.

Students also received recognition from one of the conference dinner speakers for their outstanding nuclear outreach efforts. Eric Meyer, founder and executive director of Generation Atomic, a nonprofit nuclear advocacy organization, used UNM’s nuclear engineering students as a case study of how students can make a difference.

In this case, several of our students traveled to Roswell, N.M., to speak in favor of building a proposed nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico and to educate people on the risks and benefits of nuclear power. Meyer dedicated several minutes and a slide discussing UNM's extensive outreach activities, and he even included a quote by Bobbi Riedel Merryman (a UNM nuclear engineering Ph.D. student) on his slide.

Holtec students
Professor Christopher Perfetti with UNM students