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Intel students learn how to combat weapons spread at ORNL workshop

Friday, March 14, 2014

A group of Mercyhurst University intelligence studies faculty and students will get an insider’s view of the largest science and energy laboratory in the Department of Energy’s system next week on a visit to Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Faculty Orlandrew Danzell and Stephen Zidek will meet with ORNL staff during their March 18-21 visit while the students participate in a workshop in concert with the University of Georgia. The “Next Generation Safeguards Initiative Nonproliferation Workshop” focuses on countering the spread of nuclear weapons and is supported by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Nonproliferation and International Security. The workshop agenda includes talks from leading experts, touring nuclear facilities and hands-on radiation detection exercises.

Mercyhurst attendees include undergraduate intelligence studies major Alison Ockasi and graduate student Karl Ludwig and Nicholas Walker.

ORNL’s scientific programs focus on materials, neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security. The laboratory is home to several of the world’s top supercomputers and is a leading neutron science and nuclear energy research facility.

“This is a unique opportunity for our students to learn the different techniques used in monitoring the proliferation of weapons,” Zidek said.

As educators, he added, “We are meeting with faculty from other universities to determine new ways of better preparing students for this traditional role in national security.”

Zidek has coordinated with the highest level of military leadership in his time with the Marines; Danzell has done extensive work in the area of military spending on terrorism and is the head of the National Security Club at Mercyhurst, which is the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management chapter.  Both have been published in peer-review journals and spoken at conferences about national security topics, including nuclear subjects.

This particular opportunity to engage with ORNL was facilitated by Kim Gilligan, an adjunct member of the program’s online certificate program, in collaboration with Dawn Wozneak, chair of the applied intelligence graduate program, and Brad Gleason, intelligence studies administrator.