Sandia National Labs Academic Alliance & UNM Collaboration Report 2020-2021


Adam Hecht

UNM’s Adam Hecht conducts research on radiation detection and simulations in service of nuclear nonproliferation. He believes that detailed knowledge of nuclear fission is important for building new concept nuclear reactors, figuring out how to detect and identify smuggled nuclear materials, or for nuclear forensics to understand where nuclear materials may have come from. Speaking on his team’s research, “We’re working to do very delicate measurements, atom by atom, to measure the particles coming out of fission,” Hecht said. “It’s basic scientific research at the moment, but it is likely to be useful when weapons inspectors try to detect nuclear material.”

with Sandia, so it makes sense to maximize that proximity by creating a partnership that will truly enhance students’ education,” he said. “We are very excited to be developing this program that we feel, with Sandia’s collaboration, will offer UNM students an incredible advantage in the nuclear security field.” UNM Master of Science (MS) Project Management Program In mid-December, the New Mexico Higher Education Department provided final approval of the UNM MS Project Management Program, fulfilling a major goal of the two-year-old agreement between UNM and Sandia that outlined their joint plans for collaboration on project management education and professional development. UNM will become one of only a handful of U.S. universities to offer the project management master’s degree. The UNM MS Project Management Program will provide students with an education in project controls, project management, and leadership. Sandia relies on project managers to deliver on national security activities in a timely and cost-effective manner and currently employs approximately 500 project management professionals, and 58% of those are UNM graduates. There is an anticipated increase for at least the next 15 years. Tristan Walters, Sandia Corporate Project Management Office manager, said, “Many factors are driving an increased and continued demand for rigorous project management, from several complex nuclear weapon modernization programs in planning and execution stages to large capital construction projects being planned to maintain and advance Sandia’s capabilities... All these drivers, combined with industry expectations and trends, factor into Sandia’s growing need for project management expertise.” The new program will provide Sandia with a great recruiting pipeline and save Sandia significant costs because the Labs will need only to provide program-specific training.


2020-2021 Collaboration Report

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