MSE alum Rita Baranwal new Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy

Baranwal (MSE '96, PHD '98) was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate
MSE alum Rita Baranwal new Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy

Last week MSE alumna Rita Baranwal (MSE '96, PHD '98) was appointed Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Baranwal was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 20 with a vote of 86-5.

Before her appointment, Baranwal worked for Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) Nuclear Science & Technology directorate as the director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative, where she was responsible for providing the nuclear industry and other stakeholders access to DOE's state-of-the-art research, development (R&D) expertise, capabilities, and infrastructure to achieve faster and cost-effective development, demonstration, and ultimate deployment of innovative nuclear energy technologies. 

Prior to joining INL, Dr. Baranwal served as Director of Technology Development and Application at Westinghouse. There, she led the creation and development of game-changing technologies and managed characterization and hot cell laboratories to support Westinghouse, its customers and the nuclear power industry. Her previous positions at Westinghouse included director of Core Engineering and manager of Materials and Fuel Rod Design. Prior to joining Westinghouse, she was a manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis, Inc. where she led and conducted R&D in advanced nuclear fuel materials for U.S. Naval Reactors.

Baranwal currently serves as Chair on the ANS Materials Science and Technology Division (MSTD) Executive Committee, and sits on Advisory Boards for MIT’s Materials Research Laboratory and UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Advisory Board. 

Baranwal's former graduate advisor, Professor Rick Laine, remembers her as a "talented, innovative and self motivated student." He added: "She was also always willing to take up new challenges and help guide younger students  - both undergrad and graduate - to better themselves." 

Best wishes to Dr. Baranwal in her new role!