Junior Earns Washington Internships for Students of Engineering ANS Sponsorship

Pitt-Johnstown

posted March 27, 2017


Pitt-Johnstown's Sydney Hamilton, a junior, will be sponsored by the American Nuclear Society at the 2017 Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program, to be held in Washington, D.C., from June 4–August 5.

Sydney HamiltonHamilton, who is majoring in mechanical engineering technology with a minor in political science, is Pitt-Johnstown's first ANS-sponsored intern sent to WISE. She credits Pitt-Johnstown’s emphasis on real-world experience as an advantage in her achieving this internship.

“The whole feel of the campus is different from most other schools,” she tols ANS News. “Johnstown is much smaller than Pittsburgh, and our campus has a lot of green space. In the fall, I would argue that there is nowhere quite as beautiful.

“All of my classes are small, about 20 to 40 students, and all of my professors know me by name. We also offer labs with most of our classes, so in any given semester I’m taking two three-hour labs. It’s great because it gives us the opportunity to ‘get our hands dirty,’ so to speak, and apply what we’re learning in the classroom.”

Hamilton traveled to France in the summer of 2015 to study nuclear engineering and the nuclear fuel cycle, and with a group of fellow students she had the opportunity to meet and speak with William Magwood, director-general of the OECD Nucle­ar Energy Agency.

“While I enjoyed touring the labs and reactor sites on the trip, it was that visit that got my at­tention the most,” she said. “I enjoyed the marriage of political science and public policy and engineering.” Hamilton said that, when she learned about the WISE program, she knew she wanted to ap­ply.

“I know what goes into engineer­ing and what goes into public policy,” she said, “but I am excited to learn how the two work together and to get to be part of the process.”

Hamilton said she is interested in research related to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. “I think the most challenging aspect of the internship will be the demanding workload: balancing the meetings and visits and writing the research paper,” she said. “I’m confident I will be able to work out a schedule to fit every­thing in, but the transition time will be challenging.”

The nine-week in­ternship program in Washington, D.C., will include meetings with leaders in the U.S. Congress, the administra­tion, and federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

She will conduct research and pres­ent a paper on an engineering-related public policy issue of interest to the sponsoring organization. Intern papers will be published online in the WISE Journal of Engineering and Public Policy.

Hamilton will be pro­vided with office space at the Nuclear Energy Institute, coordinated by ANS member Carol Berrigan, senior director of industry infrastructure at NEI, to use as a home base during the summer.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking its 90th anniversary well as the 50th year of the campus in its Richland Township location. Pitt-Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.