BYU American Nuclear Society receives national recognition

On Tuesday, April 25 the BYU chapter of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) received three recognitions from the national chapter. The chapter received a recognition as a distinguished chapter. The chapter also came in first place in a competition to see who could recruit the most members and came in third place for having the highest percentage of new members. The chapter now has around 48 members. Andy Klein, president of the national chapter of the ANS, came to BYU’s campus and presented the chapter with the awards.

BYU ANS was founded two years ago with chemical and nuclear engineering professor Matthew Memmott serving as the faculty mentor. Before Memmott joined the faculty, there were no nuclear classes or clubs, so he was excited to bring that to the campus.

The club is centered around nuclear science and Memmott explained that they have three main focuses. One is to teach themselves and others about the reality of nuclear science and energy. Two is to do community outreach and service. Three is to look for opportunities and speakers from the nuclear industry, so they can find good job opportunities.

He said these recognitions are helping to put BYU on the map in the nuclear world. 

“It’s bringing a lot of recognition to BYU because prior to this point, there was no nuclear anything at BYU,” Memmott said. “It’s a great opportunity to make BYU come out of obscurity in the nuclear area.”

He added that these recognitions will help build relationships with other universities and open doors to do nuclear research with those universities who now know that BYU has those capabilities.

Newly elected president of the ANS, chemical engineering major Sarah Skousen was excited for BYU to receive the recognition. She said she and her fellow members worked hard to get the recognition, even getting Memmott to agree to be duct taped to the wall if they increased their membership by 90 percent. They didn’t quite reach that goal, but it gave them a lot of motivation to do so.

Members had the opportunity to hear Klein give a presentation about the newest technologies of nuclear energy. They also asked him many questions. Memmott said students really enjoyed that opportunity.

“He had a lot of real, practical experience as the president of ANS,” Memmott said. “He knows exactly how to direct students to find the resources they need to find the jobs or the people they need to connect to and things like that, so it was a great opportunity for them.”

Skousen agreed that Klein had many beneficial things to share.

“He has worked with practically every kind of nuclear reactor, so we were able to learn a lot from him.”

Going forward, Skousen is optimistic that the chapter will continue to grow, adding that the chapter isn’t just for chemical engineers, but for any students that have an interest in nuclear energy.  

“Now that we are making strides in membership, we hope to expand the chapter's and national membership with more students, of all majors and political views,” she said.  “We are also hoping to win the Local Sections Meritorious Award this coming year.”

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