My name is Patricia Ragsdale. I am a recent graduate of Bethune Cookman University. I have attained my B.A. in International Studies. I am originally from Connecticut and now reside in Orlando, FL. This is my second time participating in the MEISSP program. I first participated in the summer of 2012 and I absolutely loved it. Therefore, I was very eager to partake in it again. I became interested in this program because it is correlated with my major, it is an opportunity to gain experience within the government, and it presented an invaluable internship opportunity in preparation for my future career.

Last year, I worked in the Office of Nuclear Energy whose mission is to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of meeting the Nation’s energy, environmental, and national security needs by resolving technical, cost, safety, proliferation resistance, and security barriers through research, development, and demonstration as appropriate. I specifically worked for the Director of International Nuclear Energy and Policy.  This department focuses on establishing bilateral and multilateral relations with other countries to support and improve the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. For example, this sector is very involved with Fukushima, Japan and the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed their nuclear power plants. It was fascinating to see how this office was taking action to help Fukushima redevelop their power plants and technology.  My main role in this office was being involved with the planning and organizing of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy and Cooperation Conference in Marrakech in August 2012. Even though I did not get to go, this conference was a hands-on experience that was very intensive, challenging, but accomplishing at the same time. This conference, where so many ambassadors and diplomats came together to brainstorm for solutions, emphasize nuclear energy awareness and form bilateral and multilateral cooperations, motivated me every day to perform my duties to the fullest in order to help make this event a success.
Lastly, this program shed light upon how governmental bodies such as the Office of Nuclear Energy operate in the global arena. I learned a considerable amount about nuclear energy and how it is beneficial to society. It helped in sharpening my research skills and improved my focus on policy and international development.  Additionally, I was able to network with many outstanding individuals including my mentor, who is a brilliant leader, as well as with the students in the program. This internship with the U.S. Department of Energy has been an excellent learning opportunity.