Single Session

[Schedule Grid]

MPM-A - Early-Career Professional Special Session

Woodrow Wilson A   14:30 - 18:00

Chair(s): Chu Wang, Candace Krout
MPM-A.1   14:30  Think Again! The Health Physicist Must Live a Life of Curiosity and Continuous Learning DA Sowers*, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Abstract: Whether you pursue a career as a life-long technician or find yourself in management or as an RSO, a well-rounded health physicist necessarily lives a life of continuous learning. Adam Grant’s Think Again, published in 2021 to critical acclaim including from Daniel Kahneman, and a New York Times #1 best seller, pleases the palate of continuous learning considering swirling conversations orbiting the rabbit hole of the history of the linear no threshold model video series. Grant provides a plethora of pathways to identify bias in holding on to old ideas and ways to “think again” to reconsider what may have been held as true for quite some time. This is part of the scientific method, and as health physicists we must think again even when it comes to hard topics like LNT. Models and theories only remain prevalent until somebody thinks again to revise or remove them. This mentorship-style talk will explore parts of the book worth including in your daily health physics activities.

MPM-A.2   14:50  Career Management Insights from a Recently Retired Federal Health Physicist MA Boyd*, U.S. EPA (retired)

Abstract: Some radiation protection professionals will start their journey with a clear vision of where they want their career to take them and will set about charting a straightforward path for achieving their goal. Others will try many different paths and may end up with a satisfying career in health physics without realizing that’s where they were headed. This health physicist’s experience is more the latter, but there were many happy outcomes that resulted either from chance (being in the right place at the right time) or the benefit of experience (recognizing a great opportunity when it presented itself). Everyone has their own priorities, aspirations and career goals, but perhaps sharing a few successes and regrets from almost 50 years in the workforce will be of some value to early career professionals. A few decisions that were the right ones for me early in my career include joining and becoming active in the Health Physics Society, gaining practical field experience before settling into an office job, finding mentors and sources of knowledge in both traditional and unexpected places, and building over time a large network of professional connections through attending and speaking at conferences and serving on committees, working groups, and teams. A chief regret is learning too late in my career about opportunities that were there all along if I had only known where to look and whom to ask. Despite the old adage, a successful career will often result from both what you know and whom you know, including what you learn from those you know.

MPM-A.3   15:10  Who Knows What Stuff is Out There? – Lessons in an Early Career in Environmental Health Physics JM Joyce*, H3 Environmental ; Je Joyce

Abstract: In the field of environmental health physics (HP), there is lots of “stuff out there” to investigate! Most of my work in HP so far has focused on radioactive materials outdoors or in places where they have been forgotten, brushed into a semi-reclaimed waste pile, or otherwise ignored. This juxtaposition between the fascinating history of the nuclear industry, the evolution of HP regulation and technology, and the pervasive influence of environmental justice is what motivates and inspires me as an early career HP. For all of the “stuff out there,” the work is about finding it, characterizing it, documenting the findings, communicating with management and regulators about risk, and informing decisions which can have significant financial and environmental consequences. Using examples from both Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission frameworks, I will explore a few ways for the early career professional to succeed in environmental HP.

MPM-A.4   15:30  Break

MPM-A.5   16:00  Utilizing Resources and Optimizing Oppurtunities CL Krout*, Einstein-Jefferson

Abstract: Resources. Mindset. Opportunities. A common struggle in early stages of a professional career is navigation. Once the journey of a career path has begun, there is multiple roads that can be traveled which may contain unexpected turns, roadblocks, express ways, tolls, and more. When beginning the journey understanding tools that may assist in the travels is beneficial. The tools between individuals may differ and the manners in which they are utilized. The health physics society is one out of many resources that one can use as a tool. The mindset that you approach the journey with can set the tone of the outcome and the experience. This talk will touch base on one out of many one may begin the navigation process. By the end of the talk, we will understand resources that the HPS can offer, specifically to students and early career professionals, the importance of mindset, and ways to optimize events one may face in their career.

MPM-A.6   16:20  Volunteering for the Health Physics Society as an Introvert: How I Give Back and What I Get D Poudel*, LANL

Abstract: The Health Physics Society offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for students, early-career professionals, and seasoned professionals. These opportunities range from behind-the-scenes tasks to more public-facing positions. As an introvert, taking on leadership roles in front of large audiences does not come easily to me. Instead, I have volunteered for committees or projects that align with my interests and strengths, which has allowed me to make meaningful contributions without pushing outside of my comfort zone. I have taken on roles that allow me to work independently or in smaller groups, such as writing articles for the Health Physics newsletter, creating mock certification questions, working as a topic editor for the "Ask the Experts" feature, and serving as a reviewer and associate editor for the Health Physics journal. My involvement with the HPS has given me unique opportunities for personal and professional growth, and I have established valuable connections with others in the field, boosting my confidence and comfort in professional settings.

MPM-A.7   16:40  Finding Mentorship through HPS J Joyce*, HPS Mentorship Committee ; B Serencstis, HPS Mentorship Committee; D Montgomery, HPS Mentorship Committee; C Wilson, HPS Mentorship Committee; A Halloran, HPS Mentorship Committee; R Emery, HPS Mentorship Committee; S King, HPS Mentorship Committee; J Vanhorne-Sealy, HPS Mentorship Committee

Abstract: As Early Career Professionals and as health physicists, few of us can say we reached the position we are in without the support of mentors. In industry, individuals who participate in mentor programs have been found to be 49% less likely to leave a company . Like industry, both the field of health physics and the HPS have struggled to retain members. Over the past year, the HPS mentorship committee has worked to overhaul our mentoring programs, offer new and resilient opportunities for HPS members, and create more connections throughout our profession. This talk will highlight the latest progress, especially emphasizing the new HPS virtual mentor matching platform! Other recent mentorship events include the “Challenging Health Physics Questions” activities for those wishing to network while sharpening their written response skills, a special session on mentoring members into retirement, and the familiar Speed Networking event.

MPM-A.8   17:00  Panel Discussion

MPM-A.9   17:20  Business Meeting

[back to schedule]