Noel Nelson, Grant Union High School valedictorian of 2008, earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State.
Nelson, who finished his doctorate in fall 2018, participated in the spring 2019 commencement ceremony.
His dissertation was titled “Validation and Uncertainty Quantification of the Data Integration with Modeled Predictions (DIMP) Inverse Radiation Transport Model for Holdup Measurements.”
His father, Bryan Nelson, said holdup — a deposit of radioactive material that typically builds up over time in processing equipment at nuclear fuel fabrication facilities — must be tracked for nuclear security and radiological safety reasons.
Noel Nelson dedicated his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation to the loving memory of his mother, Deanna Nelson, who passed away just before his high school graduation ceremony. She always encouraged him to follow his dreams and do his best, Bryan Nelson said.
The recent graduate is already employed as a nuclear safety engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.