Grad Member Spotlight: Lainy Dromgoole Cochran

11 July 2016

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Lainy Dromgoole Cochran

MS student, Nuclear Engineering, estimated graduation of Aug 2016

Texas A&M



Lainy served in four different officer positions for the Texas A&M SWE section, including President her senior year. This year Texas A&M started their own GradSWE group, and she has helped contribute to that effort by serving as the GradSWE membership coordinator. As an undergraduate, SWE helped her find my place within a large engineering community at Texas A&M. Lainy says, she “…didn’t realize until I was a grad student that the collegiate experience is different in grad school, and I am so happy that the Texas A&M SWE section is working to accommodate the different needs of grad students by forming and growing GradSWE. I am looking forward to the next phase of my SWE involvement as a professional!” Lainy interned at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria for a year before starting graduate school and has received a fellowship from the Health Physics Society. Congrats, Lainy, on all your hard work. Keep it up!
What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?
I am a MS student studying nuclear engineering. I plan to graduate in August of this year.
Give a brief explanation of your research.
My research seeks to enhance emergency response exercises by using unsealed radioactive sources to simulate a more realistic response environment following an incident involving the dispersion of radioactive material. Limited exercises are performed worldwide using unsealed radioactive sources, and most of that information is not published. My research presents the process for selection of a short-lived radionuclide for use in exercises at the TEEX Disaster City facility at Texas A&M, and includes a preliminary dose assessment to determine what activities should be used for each radionuclide in order to have detectable dose rates while ensuring that doses received by exercise controllers and participants are kept as low as reasonably achievable.
What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
My primary interest within the field of nuclear engineering is health physics, or the science of radiation protection. Later this year I will start working for Sandia National Laboratories in support of their nuclear incident response program. I am looking forward to honing my technical skills as a health physicist. Once I have done that, I am interested in working on nuclear-related policy. I have always found the nexus of technology and policy very interesting.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
In the free time I can find that isn’t dedicated to SWE or other engineering organizations, I enjoy relaxing with my husband, playing musical instruments, and baking. To balance the baking, my other “hobby” is jogging with our labrador, Josie.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I have worked at or visited six nuclear power plants, including two outside of the country. I enjoy a little nuclear tourism!

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