A little more about me...
I am originally from Kennesaw, Georgia and I am proud to call Georgia home despite its many flaws. My dream is to move back to my home state and help it become a great place to live for everyone, not just people that look like me. I was extremely privileged in my upbringing, and I owe everything to my parents who sacrificed to provide me the best education they and my schools could provide. My mom and dad are the reason I became an engineer, and I try to remember their commitment to education and the community now that I am in a position to give back to that same community. I cannot ignore the fact that my home is the often-overlooked Appalachia region, and I look forward to any opportunity I have to improve my community.
I grew up camping, backpacking and running through nature - hobbies I still very much enjoy. My parents instilled their love for the outdoors in me and my sisters, whether through backpacking trips with my dad and fellow Scouts, family camping trips to Red Top Mountain, or just taking in the hot Georgia evening on the porch. I still cannot have a day go by without spending at least some time outside - I am typing this from my fiancee's temporary porch in Huntsville, Alabama. I don't run as much as I should or used to, but the lifelong sport is still my favorite activity to ground myself and take a minute for self-reflection. Whether running through the city streets, local bike paths or on a remote trail, I have yet to find a better way to "get out of my head" and search for my own self-happiness.
When I'm not working or running, I enjoy reading and playing guitar (mostly campfire, applachian folk/country tunes). I also love watching/listening to true crime, building LEGOs and playing board games with my fiancee. If I can find the time, I like to connect with my friends over Xbox and a whiskey. On the weekends, you can find me doing any of the above or working with my hands outside - physical work rests the mind!
I currently live in Maryland with my fiancee Jenny and our two cats (pics below), who are my biggest support system. I could not put so much of myself into my work if I did not have Jenny, Quintus Felix Sylvestrus (Quentin) and Bartholomew J. ChickenNugget (Mr. Kitten) behind me. If you have cats, it goes without saying that my work may have progressed much faster without constant pleas for attention from the cats. Beyond my family, I owe any success to Jenny's constant support.
Why do I love nuclear power?
This question has a simple answer - at least for me. I work with nuclear power because I really believe in its ability to provide the energy we need to live comfortably without destroying the planet. I believe that the right to live a comfortable life is a right - and as such should be available and easily accessible to everyone. Nuclear power can make that a reality. Nuclear power is an incredibly safe and reliable technology, and my passion is promoting and maintaining its capabilities for solving a multitude of problems.
Why do I work on human reliability?
Nuclear power is, and continues to be, the safest and most reliable way to generate large amounts of energy without emitting equally large amounts of greenhouse gases. Despite its current safety, nuclear power (and really all engineering systems) continues to be plagued by an under-characterized source of failures: human operators. I work on human reliability to ensure that the nuclear industry remains as safe and reliable as possible. In this work, I enjoy collaborating with a multi-disciplinary group of experts to understand, model and quantify the connection between human operators and the systems they safeguard.
The paramount principle in the National Society of Professional Engineers' Code of Ethics is to safeguard the public health and welfare. Reliability engineers are something of the "last line of defense" between risks posed by engineering systems and the public that relies on these systems to function. In that group, human reliability analysts work to ensure that we understand and are able to mitigate system risks that are influenced by human operators. The operators have a similar "last line of defense" role, and to me this adds an additional impetus to ensure that we understand human performance in system operation. I fulfill my obligation to the public health and welfare by modeling human reliability.
Quentin and Mr. Kitten: adopted brothers (albeit sometimes reluctantly).
Jenny and I at a friend's wedding in beautiful New Hampshire.
Quentin indulging in a rare nap break to play with a toy.
Mr. Kitten taking a well-needed nap, but not too far away from his bird-watching duties.