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College Elegibility and on-campus Reactors
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College Elegibility and on-campus Reactors

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Author Topic: College Elegibility and on-campus Reactors  (Read 6393 times)
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Elrond116
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« on: Jan 22, 2010, 04:06 »

First half:
I'm RC01 straight out of high school, 6 and out, with 18 months left, and I have decided not to reenlist for personal reasons.  I am capable of standing panel watches, but I don't like it enough to make it my career end-game strategy; I'd much rather end up designing, inspecting, repairing, or writing procedures for reactors than actually operating them on a day-to-day basis.  This has led me to believe that I should plan for a grad school when I get out, and I figure if I finish my undergrad (I'll have CLEP, NPACE, and whatever-the-Navy-gives-me credits) at the same school I won't waste resources on credits I'll have to retake for my Master's.  Unfortunately, I didn't start growing up until after high school, and my GPA reflects it, so I'm concerned that it will lock some doors...how much did I screw myself?  Do decent standardize test scores and an honorable discharge make up for a bad GPA (like, <2.5) in high school?  Is there anything I can do to better my chances of being accepted by the dream school I end up deciding on?

Second half:
Now obviously, the GI bill isn't going to get me through grad school, and my meager nest egg is just that - a nest egg - so I'm looking for alternative ways to pay for school.  I've heard a couple stories now about colleges with on-campus reactors that allow students to work there part-time to help pay for college...does anyone know of any schools doing this?  Location is not a major concern; accreditation, military friendliness, and tuition costs are.  What sorts of college research tools are out there at this level of detail?

Third half (yeah, I know):
I've also heard about some companies paying prospective employees to go finish college degrees if they agree to do a certain amount of time afterward (Excelon's name was dropped in particular).  If I could get a company to pay for my undergrad, man a panel for a year or two, and then direct my GI bill at a graduate degree, it seems like I could get where I want to be quickly with minimal debt...does that even sound feasible?
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 22, 2010, 08:55 »

Very complex questions that could largely be avoided by the knowledge that you don't need a postgraduate degree for 'designing, inspecting, repairing, or writing procedures for reactors.' Nor is anyone expected to spend their careers 'standing panel watches' if they don't have a string of letters after their name.

I would never discourage someone from continuing their education, but a significant number of the people that do a wide variety of jobs in nuclear plants (including operations) don't even have a college degree. Until you reach a certain level, your experience is far more important than your educational pedigree... and that level is pretty high up. Even at the higher levels an advanced degree is rarely necessary. But they hurt even less rarely.

Naturally there are some jobs that are near impossible to get without a degree... Engineering, for instance. Many of those jobs require a PE license and those are hard to come by without an Engineering (not Engineering Technology or Engineering Science) Degree. But procedure writing, inspecting and other good jobs can be had without a degree of any nature... even supervision.

So, get your degree if you can and you want to, work into a postgraduate program if that is where you want to go, but don't assume you can't get a job without going that route. Most utilities have a college tuition payback program if you take certain classes and work toward a degree (assuming you are not doing so much overtime that you don't have time for class.) So, getting your degree first may or may not be a good idea.

Don't you love it when answers end up giving you more questions than they answered?
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Elrond116
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 24, 2010, 07:29 »

Quote
Engineering, for instance. Many of those jobs require a PE license and those are hard to come by without an Engineering (not Engineering Technology or Engineering Science) Degree. But procedure writing, inspecting and other good jobs can be had without a degree of any nature... even supervision.
They talked about that a little in an extremely useful thread about Excelsior in another forum.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I think this is the answer to the question I was trying to ask; now I'm focused specifically on finding an accredited "Engineering" undergrad.
Quote
Most utilities have a college tuition payback program if you take certain classes and work toward a degree (assuming you are not doing so much overtime that you don't have time for class.)
YES!  That's exactly what I'm looking for!  Perfect - Yesterday, I cruised a few randomly selected utility websites and sent off a couple informal emails asking what employers have to offer for that sort of thing, but can anyone recommend a specific company I should look into that's known for having the best programs like this?

Also, for anyone following in my footsteps...I found a list of all the civilian nuclear testing/training reactors on Wikipedia and compared it to a list of "Nuclear and Radiological Engineering" ABET-accredited schools, and got this:

  • University of Florida
  • Idaho State University
  • MIT
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • University of Michigan
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • University of New Mexico
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Penn State
  • Purdue University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Texas A&M
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Now, there are other colleges with reactors that aren't on this list (for example, OSU), but they are not accredited for nuclear engineering.  It's totally possible, however, that they might be accredited for something else (like MECHANICAL engineering, for example), so they might still be worth looking at...

@all, does it make sense to get a nuclear engineering degree, anyways?  It seems like it's kinda limiting...maybe mechanical engineering would be a better choice?  ...so many questions... ^_^
« Last Edit: Jan 24, 2010, 11:10 by Elrond116 » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 25, 2010, 05:40 »

In a study for the California PE licensing board, Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering were ranked as being the most closely related engineering disciplines.  If you go for Mech Eng, Ohio State is another ABET school with a reactor.
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 25, 2010, 06:02 »

I believe Ohio State also has one.
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Elrond116
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 26, 2010, 04:29 »

They definitely do, according to Wikipedia; they just weren't on my list because they don't have an accredited nuclear program.  This is a really good point, though: how much would it affect my career to go for an accredited mechanical engineering undergrad vice nuclear engineering?  It seems like more of a jack-of-all-trades degree; would you expect an employer to give much consideration over the difference?  My inexperienced guess is "yes, of course!"  ...but literally none of the other nukes on my boat seem interested in these kinds of questions, and I'm starting to worry I'm just nuking a framed piece of paper out too much.  What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance for doing my CCC's (an FT1) job for him ^_^ .
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 26, 2010, 04:39 »

A Mechanical Engineering degree will certainly get you most of the places you want to go. It is a rare position that requires Nuclear Engineering and won't accept Mechanical. Virtually any Engineering degree is gold. If you had BSME and MSNE, then you would be something.
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 26, 2010, 08:17 »

Univerysity of Cincinnati dropped their undergrad BSNE but you can pick up a MSNE.  You can even get a 5 year BSME/MSNE done there.  I dont believe they have an operating reactor though......cant seem to remember?
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 26, 2010, 09:02 »

No reactor at UC.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 11, 2012, 05:46 »

Does anyone have any more info on research reactor jobs? I'm currently going to Ohio State for Mechanical Engineering and I've been really curious about whether they hire technicians/operators for their reactor. I've searched the OSU HR page and the Nuclear Engineering page and I'm coming up with nothing. Has anybody here ever worked at a research reactor before?
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 11, 2012, 05:49 »

Has anybody here ever worked at a research reactor before?

Yes
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 11, 2012, 06:04 »

Sorry, I wasn't very specific. How do you go about getting a job at a college campus reactor. Here at OSU it seems that HR is unaware there is a reactor on campus. I'm considering just going into the Nuclear Engineering office with a resume and asking them. Ultimately, getting my degree is more important to me than getting a job on campus, but it would be nice to make some money while getting more experience in an engineering field.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 11, 2012, 06:16 »

Cant get a job if you dont apply. Even research reactors have websites and job postings. Bettis, KAPL, NRC, etc all have legitimate "job postings".


head start on PA test reactor.

http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 11, 2012, 07:09 »

Sorry, I wasn't very specific. How do you go about getting a job at a college campus reactor. Here at OSU it seems that HR is unaware there is a reactor on campus. I'm considering just going into the Nuclear Engineering office with a resume and asking them. Ultimately, getting my degree is more important to me than getting a job on campus, but it would be nice to make some money while getting more experience in an engineering field.

If Ohio State is anything like where I went to school, you have to be in the nuclear engineering program to get a job working at the research reactor. YMMV.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 11, 2012, 11:33 »

Edit:

@Elrond116.


If you're looking at Oregon State University, there are no student jobs at the reactor - there is an entire reactor operations team consisting of either professors or personnel hired explicitly for the job.  Since we shut down at the end of the day, lock the door, and walk away, there's no real need for having more than a few ROs at hand.  I believe Reed College up in Portland is the only other school in Oregon that has a reactor, and they do have student operators.  According to my friend who works there, they're relatively rare in that they allow it to happen.
« Last Edit: Feb 12, 2012, 12:31 by JustPlainLo » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 12, 2012, 12:02 »

If you're talking about Oregon State University

Reread - clearly said Ohio State, not Oklahoma, not Oregon!
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 12, 2012, 12:29 »

Reread - clearly said Ohio State, not Oklahoma, not Oregon!

Let me fix that...  My literacy decreases as my engineering knowledge increases.   Tongue
« Last Edit: Feb 12, 2012, 12:32 by JustPlainLo » Logged
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