NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Natasha Skowronski

Natasha Skowronski ’17

What were your interests in high school?
In high school I wanted to draw all the time (I had not yet discovered nuclear engineering!). I still want to draw all the time, but I also want to help the world by lowering the cost to clean, safe energy sources like nuclear.

What is your favorite activity outside of the classroom?
Outside the classroom, one of my favorite activities is teaching myself acoustic fingerstyle guitar or going to concerts of my favorite guitarists. I also love to cook.

Why did you decide to major in course 22?
I decided to major in Course 22 after seeing some nuclear advocacy videos while I was taking time away from MIT. As a technology, I couldn‘t believe how much it just clicked. It was clean, safe, energy-dense, sustainable — I immediately decided to return to MIT and change my course of study to major in Course 22.

What is you most memorable experience so far as a course 22 student?
Because of scheduling issues, the undergrads last spring had to take the graduate version of their materials class. I remember being really intimidated by the class and especially by the first assignment: writing a review paper on a subject in nuclear materials science. I had no experience with materials science before, but I spent a lot of time writing on a topic that sounded genuinely interesting to me because of my previous interest in molten salt reactors, tellurium corrosion of metal alloys in molten salt environments. The success of my paper helped me to end up working in the professor's lab as a UROP, and now I'm starting the process of turning my UROP on tellurium-induced corrosion of alloys in molten salts into a thesis. I think the whole process of this experience will always be memorable to me because I feel so fortunate to be working on a project that I sincerely care about, while at the same time I recognize how easy it might have been to miss that opportunity, all due to a scheduling error.

What would you like to do after graduating?
Ideally, I’d like to put the knowledge I've gained working in Professor Short’s lab on molten salt corrosion testing to good use by working in industry with molten salts somehow. I think I’d like to go to grad school someday to specialize more, but it’d be nice to gain some work experience first.

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Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Cambridge, MA 02139