RIT engineering students experience nuclear engineering outside the classroom

A recent visit to Constellation Energy’s R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, New York inspired Claire Dantzlerward to pursue an internship in the field of nuclear engineering. Dantzlerward, a second year student in chemical engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, found the tour of the plant to be a “transformative experience.”

The visit to the plant was part of Santosh Kurinec’s teaching plan in the field of energy. Kurinec, professor in the department of electrical and microelectronic engineering, arranged for a group of undergraduate and Ph.D. engineering students to visit the plant in late August in order to apply what they learn in the classroom to the world of industry. Kurinec recalled her internship experience at the Bhabha Atomic Research Reactor, India when she was a master’s student in physics at University of Delhi, India.

The tour was guided by Kate Gleason College of Engineering alumnus, Jonah Sharp ’20 (mechanical engineering) who works as a mechanical systems and design engineer at the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. In addition to his role as an engineer, Sharp engages in outreach for the plant, giving tours, participating in recruitment events, and speaking as part of a guest lecture series at RIT organized by Dr. Margaret Bailey and Professor Timothy Landschoot in mechanical engineering.

“The closest I’d ever been to a reactor was in books and Wikipedia articles, and seeing one in person was nothing short of inspiring,” said Dantzlerward. “We were shown everything from the enormous turbines to the even-bigger dome shielding the reactor. Indeed, the tour did inspire me to apply for every internship in the field I could get my hands on.”

As a result of the experience, Dantzlerward will be working with General Electric-Hitachi Nuclear as an intern in fuel manufacturing during summer 2023 as part of her co-op experience.

“The tour allowed me to finally picture myself as an engineer in nuclear energy, something I’d dreamed of for years. I can say with certainty that it was a cornerstone moment in my engineering career.”


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