Rodolfo Ferrer: Passionate about reactor physics
“Creativity is one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of being an engineer. That aspect has always been very appealing to me ever since I was young,” says Rodolfo Ferrer (’04 NUC E, ’05 MS, ’10 PhD).
Since July 2010, Rodolfo has been working as a senior nuclear engineer and lead developer at Studsvik Scandpower, Inc., a subsidiary of Studsvik, Inc., a company that offers a range of advanced technical services to the global nuclear power industry. Its business focus areas are fuel and materials technology and reactor analysis software. With more than 65 years of experience in nuclear technology and radiological service, Studsvik now has 700 employees in seven countries.
“The work we do is quite challenging and requires a high level of creativity and knowledge in the fields of reactor physics and general nuclear engineering,” says Rodolfo. “At the same time it is very rewarding. We are able to help our clients solve real-world problems, not just in the United States, but all over the world.”
Rodolfo works at Studsvik Scandpower’s Idaho Falls, ID, location, which has a total of nine employees. He says he prefers working in a smaller company environment. “It’s surely more flexible and allows us to be more aggressive, empowered, and responsible than our competitors. This degree of freedom comes with tremendous responsibility, but also a great sense of ownership.”
Rodolfo likes to go camping and hiking on the weekends. The company’s location gives its employees a very well-balanced life style. “We are three hours away from Yellowstone, for example,” says Rodolfo. “Every day there are people flying in from all over the world to visit nearby attractions, such as world-class skiing resorts. Everything is within driving distance. Isn’t that great?”
Rodolfo was a member of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, which gave him an invaluable learning experience. In addition, his nuclear engineering professors had broad connections within the nuclear industry, which gave students opportunities to address industry concerns and participate in real-world experiences outside of regular classes.
“I got the opportunity to build close relationships with my professors, which is something students might not have in other programs,” Rodolfo says.
Besides being a Schreyer Scholar, Rodolfo was also a member of the Penn State student chapter of the American Nuclear Society (ANS). That allowed him to build valuable connections within the nuclear industry. He is still in contact with some of the members he met when he was a student.
“It is definitely the best place to socialize at a professional level,” says Rodolfo. “ANS members are not just students. They are researchers, developers, engineers, etc. ANS is a great platform that connects people from all sectors.”
Rodolfo says he will continue to provide his customers with the most advanced reactor analysis methods and software products to enable the safe and reliable design of nuclear power plants for the next century.