Stubbins earns 2017 NPRE Staff Member of the Year Award
Jim Stubbins, Head of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at Illinois, has always made the educational experience of NPRE students his top priority. The American Nuclear Society student chapter at Illinois has recognized that dedication by selecting Stubbins for the student group’s 2017 Staff Member of the Year Award.
Most recently, Stubbins has worked with the ANS at Illinois chapter to increase the chapter’s impact at national ANS Student Conferences. He has coordinated with student leaders to schedule senior design projects so they are ready for presentation at the conference, and has provided departmental funding to support members’ travel expenses. Those efforts have resulted in the Illinois chapter being recognized as the best ANS student section in 2016, an honorable mention for that recognition in 2017, and more presentation and leadership awards for the Illinois chapter than any other section the past two years.
“The ANS Student section at the University of Illinois chose Dr. Stubbins on the basis of his continued involvement and strong support of our student section,” said ANS 2016-17 President Aristidis Loumis. “As the instructor for NPRE's senior design course, Dr. Stubbins worked with us to encourage the participation of seniors to display their work at the ANS National Student Conference. Nearly all students taking his course found their way to Pittsburgh this year presenting their research, which played a major part as to how our student section took home more awards than any other school in the nation.
“On top of this already amazing feat he organized the summit, Nuclear Power: What it means in Illinois, an effort to stop the closure of two Illinois nuclear power plants that contribute 23 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity,” Loumis continued. “Dr. Stubbins sacrifices a lot for his department and students, and that is why he was chosen for the award.”
Stubbins’ efforts on behalf of students manifest through multiple means, including financial support as well as opportunities to interact and network with top policy and industry leaders.
Many of NPRE’s undergraduate and graduate students reap benefits from scholarships and fellowships within the department. Most of those funds have been established through Stubbins’ work with alumni and corporate partners.
NPRE students have long enjoyed exposure to an international view of nuclear engineering technologies and policies through graduate and undergraduate seminars, as well as study-abroad programs Stubbins has helped to establish. Among Stubbins’ initiatives has been the creation of the NPRE Leadership Speaker Series, which enables NPRE students to meet with and hear from the world’s most renown, world-class experts in the department’s disciplines.
Stubbins also has spearheaded the Student Professional Excellence in Engineering Development (SPEED) Interchange, a career fair event that provides students with professional strategies and employment networking opportunities.
Early in his 18-plus years as department head, Stubbins oversaw a realignment of the department’s curriculum to reflect the three paths followed by its students: nuclear power, plasma/fusion, and radiological applications. The department’s name was changed in 1999 to more accurately describe the emphasis. As NPRE continues to lead in development of nuclear engineering technology and education, another undergraduate curriculum upgrade recently has been performed under Stubbins’ direction.