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SPP Grad Students Help Organize, Participate in Carnegie Nuclear Conference

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CEIP Nuclear Conference

PhD candidate Lindsay Rand and MPP candidate Dimitri Nilov recently participated in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) 2022 International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC. Throughout its over 30 year history, the Carnegie conference has brought together students, officials, journalists, experts, and executives to discuss and analyze solutions to critical nuclear issues in arms control, nonproliferation, disarmament, deterrence, and energy.

Also in attendance were SPP alums Dr. Nilsu Goren and Dr. Jeffrey Lewis. At the conference, Goren presented on challenges facing the climate change-nuclear nexus while Lewis led a session for young professionals on open- source data attended by Nilov.

As part of her Stanton Pre-doctoral Fellowship in the Nuclear Policy Program at CEIP, Rand helped organize the Young Professionals Track (YPT) of this year’s conference. YPT offers young professionals an opportunity to engage in core debates, network with experts, as well as skill-build through additional activities before and during the main conference.  

“Helping coordinate the Young Professionals Track and working the main Carnegie nuclear conference provided a great opportunity to gauge the major research trends underway in the nuclear security community,” said Rand. “It also allowed me to meet with experts that have a variety of backgrounds and to learn about their career pathways, which will be helpful as I consider my post-PhD career interests.”

Rand, who became the inaugural Kelleher Fellow for International Security Studies in 2019, is currently working on her PhD dissertation examining the impact quantum sensing will have on arms control and nuclear force structure. 

For his part, Nilov attended the Carnegie conference as a YPT participant with support from the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM). Nilov was able to participate in a number of notable activities including Lewis's session focused on using open-source data of missile launch sites to locate missile fabrication facilities through satellite imagery. During the session, Nilov and the other YPT participants developed familiarity with Google Earth Pro before conducting a practice exercise to locate the facilities. Throughout the process, Nilov learned the signs indicative of a missile launch site and the challenges of utilizing satellite imagery for identification purposes.

Beyond the hands-on sessions, Nilov attended panels on the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and arms control in Europe after the Russo-Ukrainian war, exposing him to current debates and differing viewpoints on the challenges and issues facing policymakers. He also had the opportunity to discuss his thoughts on improving compliance management mechanisms in future U.S.-Russia arms control agreements with experts and officials from the United States and Europe.

Dimitri Nilov

The YPT also emphasized career guidance and connecting the young professionals with mentors. Developing and maintaining tangible hard skills, improving knowledge of classic nuclear literature, and connecting with experts in the field were only a few of the many pieces of invaluable advice Nilov received from panelists.

“Attending the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference helped me improve my hard skills, make connections with other young and established professionals in the nuclear field, and acquire deeper insights in the most pressing issues of today,” said Nilov.

During his time at the School of Public Policy, Nilov has been working with Rand to research the risks climate change poses to nuclear infrastructure in the U.S. and Russia.

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