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Education and Outreach Programs

Staff Spotlight - Aaron Oaks

Aaron Oaks gets fulfillment in his work as a Nuclear Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory and as an Argonne Education Volunteer.
Aaron Oaks
Nuclear Engineer, CFCT
Education: Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering (UIUC); M.S. in Nuclear Engineering (UIUC); B.S.in Computational Engineering Science (U.C. Berkeley)
Hobbies: Gardening, woodworking, 3D printing, video games, educational outreach

Aaron became interested in science at a very young age, finding the idea of scientific experimentation highly enjoyable. I always wanted to push every button to see what would happen and take things apart to see how they worked,” he says. This fascination pushed him toward engineering, first as a subject in school and later as a professional career.

Due to increased energy demands and the need for energy security, Aaron chose to focus his scientific pursuits on nuclear energy.  His research and development of models and databases for metallic nuclear fuels helps us better understand how nuclear fuel performs over time.

Recognizing how his early passion for science influenced his future, Aaron volunteers multiple times each month at STEM Outreach events such as StemFests, Science Bowl, Hour of Code, and the Autonomous Vehicle Competition. He has been actively involved in Argonne Education volunteer initiatives for more than three years, and he devoted 100 hours to volunteering in 2019 alone. He also enjoys speaking to the public on his insights as a nuclear engineer, to dispel some of the myths surrounding nuclear power and show people the safety and benefits of the technology.”

For the next generation of STEM problem-solvers, Aaron urges students, Take your time during high school and undergraduate study to explore the different fields in STEM, and discover your actual level of interest in them. Careers become much more fulfilling if they are in an area you are truly engaged in.”