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Graduate Student Finds Her Passion at Intersection of Politics and Nuclear Energy

Graduate student Alyssa Hayes found an interest in state and federal politics in her first year of high school, long before she discovered her interest in nuclear engineering, spending a year as an intern for Illinois State Senator Melinda Bush when she was only 15. Then, while studying at the University of Illinois as an undergraduate student, she used the power of grassroots organizing to help garner support for legislation that ended up saving two nuclear plants from premature decommissioning.

Now, during her time at UT, she’s become a delegate with the Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation (NESD) to join other nuclear engineering students from across the country to push for federal policies that impact the nuclear industry. Her engagement with this national organization even helped clarify her career goals.

“NESD has opened new doors of opportunity for me to learn about nuclear politics at the federal level and build a network of relationships with staffers and distinguished advocates,” said Hayes. “During non-Congressional advisory meetings with various offices and organizations, we interviewed guests from across The Hill. Through those conversations, I realized that political nuclear advocacy is what I want to do with my post-graduate career.”

Read more about Alyssa Hays and her research in a spotlight article on UT’s Department of Nuclear Engineering page.