Georgia Institute of Technology; Fellow 2008-2011
Earning a DOE NNSA SSGF may be the easy part, Anna Nikiforova Erickson says.
Her advice for those applying to the program: “Be prepared to work hard! But remember that SSGF fellows also know how to have fun.”
One fun part is the annual program review. Fellows listen to talks about each other’s research and projects at the DOE laboratories, but they also get acquainted informally. For Erickson, it was the best part of her fellowship.
“These students were so passionate about their studies and research, it heavily influenced my decision” to join the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she probes fast reactor analysis and advanced methods of radiation detection and signal processing. Erickson came to Atlanta after earning her doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serving as a postdoctoral researcher in the Advanced Detection Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Now that she’s in university-based research, Erickson passes on one of the fellowship’s most valuable lessons: the need for an interdisciplinary approach. “Detection or tracking special nuclear materials is not only a fundamentally difficult nuclear detection problem, but also crosses into policy, materials, reactor and other nuclear facilities design,” she adds.