Three people standing next to each other. On the left are two men and on the right is a woman. The two people on the outside are holding plaques.
Lane Carasik, Ph.D., mechanical and nuclear engineering assistant professor at VCU, (left) and Lisa Marshall (right) are presented with the Social Responsibility in the Nuclear Community Award from the American Nuclear Society. (Photo courtesy VCU Engineering)

VCU’s Lane Carasik honored by American Nuclear Society for diversity efforts

Engineering professor helps reshape the group’s internal focus on inclusion.

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Lane Carasik, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering in Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering, has received the Social Responsibility in the Nuclear Community Award from the American Nuclear Society. Carasik was co-honored recently with Kalin Kiesling, Ph.D., from Argonne National Laboratory, and Lisa Marshall, from N.C. State University.

The award recognized the trio’s work in establishing the diversity, equity and inclusion committee within the ANS to provide a voice and promote representation for underserved groups in the organization. Formerly the Professional Women in ANS Committee, the reorganized group – Diversity and Inclusion in ANS Committee – maintains a focus on advancing gender diversity while expanding to a larger umbrella of underrepresented or marginalized groups within the society.

“We each put a lot of effort into this new committee. There is much more work to be done, but it feels great to be recognized by our peers and colleagues,” Carasik said. “In addition to the award, every time an ANS member pulls me aside and says the committee made them feel they had a place in the society, I feel we’re making real progress. The same goes for when ANS members feel comfortable coming to me to discuss the diversity, equity and inclusion issues facing them in their current job or organization.”

Next on the committee's agenda is continuing to expand efforts to educate and build community within the nuclear field, addressing long-standing issues regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. One focus is to create large-scale initiatives to engage professionals and students from underrepresented communities. This includes elements such as expanding travel grants to fully fund students who want to attend ANS national meetings.

Carasik, who has served in the committee’s senior leadership since 2018, is stepping down from his leadership position but will continue to be engaged with the committee.

“It’s important to give a chance for others to lead,” Carasik said. “We accomplished a lot, and I am excited to continue supporting the goals we’ve set from within our new committee.”