Alpha Nu Sigma: The National Honor Society for Nuclear Engineering

Alpha Nu Sigma: The National Honor Society for Nuclear Engineering

Melissa W.

When you hear the phrase “nuclear engineering” it’s hard not to think about Homer J. Simpson eating a donut behind the controls of a nuclear power plant in Springfield. But, much to our surprise, a lot more goes into this branch of science than The Simpsons lets on. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation.” Alpha Nu Sigma recognizes students pursuing and excelling in the field.

Founded in 1979, Alpha Nu Sigma was created to recognize students who “embrace the nuclear sciences and technologies for their vital contributions to improving people’s lives and preserving the planet.”

The goal of ANS is to “advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.” In order to achieve that goal, the organization has set clear guidelines and priorities, including:

  1. Be in Demand: The products, services, publications, events, and insights of ANS provide significant benefits to members and stakeholders. We desire for members and others to seek out ANS because of our value and their interest to contribute to our mutual cause.
  2. Be Insightful: The world is evolving around us and the needs and desires of our members are changing as well. We desire for ANS to make decisions and take action in ways that anticipate needs and opportunities, as well as for our products and services to influence and evolve with the society around us.
  3. Be Influential: Nuclear technology is critical to our society and provides numerous important benefits. We desire for ANS advocacy efforts to always be increasing in effectiveness and increasing in impact with all key stakeholders.
  4. Be 1ANS: The nuclear community is comprised of professionals from diverse sectors, interests, backgrounds, and experience. ANS is strongest and most effective when that diversity is leveraged as an asset to create and lead a collaborative, single Society for the benefit of all the members. We desire to achieve 1ANS.

In order to qualify for membership, students must be actively pursuing a degree in an applied-nuclear-science, nuclear-engineering, or nuclear-engineering option curriculum. Students must also rank within the top quarter (juniors) and top third (seniors/graduate students) of their class. Professional/faculty/honorary memberships are also available.

The organization currently has 23 active chapters and roughly 2,000 active members nationwide (over 10,000 historically). ANS saw a slow in membership in 1986 after the Chernobyl disaster and has struggled a bit since then. Despite this, they continue on with their mission! You’ll recognize members of Alpha Nu Sigma by their white honor cords on graduation day.

Below is an example of a similar product offered at Senior Class Graduation Products, though students are recommended they check with their chapters for specific purchasing information.

white honor cord from senior class graduation products

Are you a member of Alpha Nu Sigma? Let us know in the comments!

Cover photo by Nicolas HIPPERT on Unsplash

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