www.engr.wisc.edu/ep College of EngineeringThe University of Wisconsin-Madison
EP ISODE
Department of Engineering Physics Nuclear Engineering / Engineering Physics / Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics

FALL/WINTER 2000-01

Featured Articles

Fusion research generates medical solutions

From mechanics to MBA: Alum relishes a challenge

Alumnus receives 2000 Distinguished Service Award

Ensuring nuclear safety as the electric industry deregulates

Drawing contest inspires nuclear artwork

UW-Madison group advocates safer food through irradiation

UW-Madison alumna joins UW Foundation

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Faculty Profile: Wendy Crone

Faculty & Staff News

Alumni News

In Memoriam

Message from the Chair

Gilbert A. Emmert

Gilbert A. Emmert (50K JPG)

We have heard many positive comments concerning our new look to the EPisode, our newsletter for alumni. If you have any suggestions for changes, ideas for articles or news concerning yourself that you would like to share with fellow alumni, send it to me and we'll see if we can work it in.

The enrollment in our engineering mechanics program is growing nicely. In 1997 we had 57 undergrads in the program. At that time we adopted a goal to raise it to 100 by fall 2003. We have already exceeded that goal; our enrollment this semester is at 109 and shows signs of continuing growth. An important factor in this growth has been the energy and enthusiasm of students in the program; if we are smart enough to get out of the way, they basically sell the program for us, with their zero-gravity flights at NASA-Houston, developing packages to go on the Hastings' Chariot suborbital missile flights, and now starting a project to build an ultralight plane. All of these are extracurricular activities undertaken on top of a very demanding academic program. It is refreshing to see that engineering can be fun.

The decline in our nuclear engineering program enrollment has been stopped, but we haven't found yet found the magic key for increasing the enrollment. The job market has turned around 180 degrees from where it was two or three years ago; we have utilities and companies coming to interview here that hadn't been here in many years. Students graduating now are getting as many as five offers, when a few years ago, they considered themselves fortunate to get one. Studies by DOE and discussions with recruiters from utilities and companies lead us to believe that this shortage of nuclear engineers is not temporary, but will last for some time. It is being driven by several factors: declining enrollment nationally in nuclear engineering, an increasing fraction of the nuclear engineering workforce moving into retirement, the realization that nuclear power can compete very well in a deregulated energy market, and the relicensing of nuclear plants we are now starting to see. Our challenge is to communicate this to high school students and those they listen to for career guidance. We will keep plugging away at it, but if you have some ideas on how to do this better, please send them to me. As Ross Perot once said, "I'm all ears!"

Our department has benefited immensely by the addition of three new professors in the engineering mechanics area in the last couple of years. Now the focus is shifting to the nuclear side of the house. As you may have seen if you have looked at our web site (www.engr.wisc.edu/ep) recently, we are looking for new faculty in the areas of nuclear systems engineering, computational plasma physics, and experimental plasma physics. I hope to have some good news concerning faculty searches to report in our next issue of EPisode.

Gil Emmert

Gilbert A. Emmert
811 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1687

Tel: 608/262-0764
Fax: 608/263-7451
E-mail: emmert@engr.wisc.edu

 

EPISODE is published twice a year for alumni and friends of the UW-Madison Department of Engineering Physics.

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Digital issue released:

Monday, 04-Dec-2000 12:28:00 CST