By Aristidis (Aries) Loumis
The Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation (NESD) was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had as a nuclear engineering student. In the summer of 2017, I traveled to Washington D.C., for one week to work alongside other students from around the country, and to interact with policymakers on matters revolving around all things nuclear.
I was really unsure of what to expect (and a bit apprehensive) about my first visit to where all of the decisions over our lives as U.S. citizens are made. Despite my angst, in the end, I found it to be an amazing experience to finally become a part of the national conversation on nuclear issues. And our conversations didn’t just focus on nuclear power, but they included nuclear science, technology, medicine, national security, innovation, non-proliferation, and education!
As much as the Delegation wants you to bring your own knowledge and experiences to share with other students and policymakers, the trip is full of educational experiences, too.
The first half of the week in D.C. is like a policy bootcamp. We had meetings with current Congressional staff members to learn more about the legislative process, and worked as a student delegation to write a policy statement that advocated for the issues we thought were most important. We also traveled all around D.C. meeting with different federal agencies and advocacy groups. I learned so much while meeting with staff from places like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the D.C.-based think tank Third Way, and of course the Nuclear Energy Institute. With new experiences, and a new-found knowledge about nuclear policy, we were ready to head to Capitol Hill!
The second half of the week focused on the policy statement that the student delegates had authored and communicating its important topics to the policymakers

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