Spotlight on Alumni

Julian Sessoms

M.S. Health Physics, 2015

I have recently completed my first year of employment with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as a health physicist in the Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program (NSPDP). The NRC is an independent agency created by Congress to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. Within the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Division of Material Safety, State, Tribal and Rulemaking Programs, and Agreement State Programs Branch, I have supported various projects aimed at providing assistance to the 37 Agreement States across the nation. An Agreement State is a state to which the NRC has relinquished portions of its regulatory authority to license and regulate byproduct materials (radioisotopes); source materials (uranium and thorium); and certain quantities of special nuclear materials.

I credit completion of Georgetown’s M.S. Health Physics Program with facilitating my entrance into the selective Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program. Although I’ve only been at the NRC a short while, I have been involved in work that has caused me to have an even deeper appreciation for the concepts taught in the Radiation Science, Radiation Detection, Cancer Risk Assessment, and Environmental Health Physics courses —just to name a few. Completion of Georgetown’s Health Physics Program has afforded me an invaluable opportunity to work at the NRC.

Lienard Chang

M.S. Health Physics, 2015

I am currently a Health Physicist in the Department of Radiation Safety and Imaging Physics at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. My tasks include hands-on clinical health physics, working on CT imaging quality assessment, and conducting radiation dosimetry research. With a strong background in health physics from Georgetown my learning curve was made much more manageable.

I first learned about Georgetown’s health physics program while interning at Georgetown’s pharmacology department. What I enjoyed most was the professors’ combinations of technical aspects of radiation safety with practical applications. Through the program, I was able to obtain a post-baccalaureate fellowship position at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland. There I worked in the Dosimetry Unit in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, primarily working with Drs. Choonsik Lee and Steve Simon on medical and external dose reconstruction and cancer risk assessment. From there I took my position in Houston. The opportunities and education from the health physics program at Georgetown afforded me a well-rounded radiation safety education and has propelled me to where I am today and has set a solid foundation for my future endeavors.

David Weisz

M.S. Health Physics, 2012

I am a second year PhD student in Nuclear Engineering at University of California, Berkeley. Currently, I am conducting research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the direction of Professor Stanley Prussin. My work involves the study of fallout particulates from historical nuclear tests through computer modeling and experimental methods. It is the goal of this research to gain insight into physical and chemical processes that take place in near-surface detonations for possible future applications in nuclear forensic analysis.

My first exposure to nuclear forensics and nuclear nonproliferation policy was as a student in the MS Health Physics program at Georgetown University. There, I became well versed in the biological and physical effects of radiation and nuclear weapons, as well as the history and politics surrounding their development in the US and abroad. The comprehensive technical approach taken by the professors in combination with the hands-on experience provided within the program were indispensable to my understanding of radiation science and nuclear technology.

Daniel Sharp

M.S. Health Physics, 2013

I am one of the first new employees of the new company, Leidos, which was created when its parent company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), recently split into two. One company kept the SAIC name, and the other became Leidos, which retained the most interesting and lucrative segments of the original SAIC's businesses, including national security, engineering and health enterprises. Specifically, I support the Technology Maturation Division in the Defense Programs Office of Stockpile Management. The job of this office is to ensure our nuclear deterrent is safe and secure.

When I had finished my service in the U.S. Navy, I was looking for a degree program that focused on the technical aspects of nuclear security. I chose the MS program at Georgetown because of the University's reputation and the proximity of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Headquarters. I was pleased to find that in addition to technical topics and hands-on training in gamma-ray spectroscopy, the program also covered the history, policy, and law of nuclear nonproliferation. And last summer I was fortunate enough to be awarded an internship at NNSA, thus providing me with valuable experience to complement my academic credentials.This was critical to landing my job with Leidos.

Anna Romanyukha

M.S. Health Physics, 2013

I currently work at the National Cancer Institute Radiation Epidemiology Branch on projects concerning cancer risk from radiation exposure, both environmental and medical. My focus in these projects is radiation dosimetry, under the supervision of Drs. Steve Simon, Andre Bouville and Choonsik Lee.

I first learned about radiation science in the classroom of Dr. Moscovitch at Georgetown University. The Health Physics program has given me a strong foundation of the physics behind atomic interactions and radiation detection, radiation biology and risk assessment, as well as its applications in the fields of nuclear energy, weapons, and medicine. As a part of my Georgetown MS degree I was able to complete an internship at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, which has given me an inside look into the functions of a major international organization and allowed me to apply my Health Physics knowledge. The Georgetown Health Physics degree has opened many new doors for me in terms of career opportunities in both environmental and medical applications of radiation.

Andrew Herr

M.S. Health Physics, 2010

I am currently the President of Helicase LLC, a technology and strategy consulting firm which focuses in the areas of emerging and potentially disruptive technologies, organizational strategy, and human performance. Prior to my current position, I was the Principal Investigator for Defense & Human Performance at Scitor Corporation, a Next Generation Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and worked with U.S. government agencies in a variety of capacities, ranging from policy development to prototype design and testing.

Having focused primarily on policy issues related to technology and national security as an undergraduate, I chose the Georgetown Health Physics Program to gain technical depth related to nuclear weapons issues and physics-based technologies. The knowledge and laboratory experience I gained in the program have been invaluable to my work assessing novel research and technology issues. The Health Physics Program also opened the door for me to spend a summer working at Sandia National Laboratory (Livermore Campus) on nuclear weapons detection research, which further informed my outlook on technology development and national security issues. I consider my time in the Health Physics Program to be an integral part of my professional success.