The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Joining America’s leading minds

Nuclear+engineering+professor+Marvin+Adams+has+been+appointed+to+a+national+position+by+President+Biden.
Photo by Courtesy

Nuclear engineering professor Marvin Adams has been appointed to a national position by President Biden.

A Texas A&M professor has been given the chance to influence the nation.

On Sept. 22, nuclear engineering professor Marvin Adams, Ph.D., was named to President Joe Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, committee. The committee, which was deemed the most diverse in U.S. history, is composed of “30 distinguished leaders in science and technology,” according to a White House press release.

“This PCAST reflects the president’s commitment to build an administration that truly looks like America: for the first time ever, women make up half of PCAST, and people of color and immigrants make up more than one-third of PCAST,” the release read. “Its diversity will help the council bring to bear a wide range of perspectives to address the nation’s most pressing opportunities and challenges, so that science, technology and engineering benefits all Americans.”

Adams said he is honored and humbled to be chosen to serve on the PCAST committee and knows he is taking on a great responsibility for the nation. 

“There’s an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get it right, I’m highly conscious of that responsibility,” Adams said. “There really is a duty and responsibility to double and triple check everything and make sure you are getting the right answer to whatever questions you’re asked to answer. The difficult part in all of science and technology questions is communicating clearly what is known, but also the uncertainties and the things that aren’t fully known.” 

A&M President M. Katherine Banks said the university is incredibly proud of Adams’ selection to the committee and his service at A&M, according to an article on Texas A&M Today

“Dr. Adams has a rare combination of expertise in nuclear weapons and energy and has played an instrumental role with the national labs,” Banks said. “He is an excellent choice for this national thought leadership position.”

Each member of the PCAST committee is involved in a variety of different research questions which the president presents before them, Adams said. Committee chairs assign members to each question based on their interest and expertise. 
“Our responsibilities in a nutshell, [are] we are to try to answer the questions that the resident asks us about and we are all engaged in soliciting information from all kinds of different stakeholders,” Adams said. “Ultimately, we’ll be putting out reports that have specific recommendations that the executive branch can act on.”
Being placed on the panel, Adams said he is excited to help influence the president’s decisions regarding important topics for the nation. 

“What motivates me is the opportunity to really make a positive difference about something that matters,” Adams said. “One of the biggest positives that I take away from this is building relationships with other people who have similar motivations, so just getting to know the other people on this council. It’s just a real kick to get to know them and to work together with people of that caliber on hard problems and tackle challenges with them.”

With Adam’s selection, Diane Hurtado, the senior associate vice chancellor for National Laboratories and National Security Strategic Initiatives, said it is a tremendous accomplishment for the university and its focus on national security. 

“It’s a big honor for Texas A&M to have a faculty member [on PCAST]. It’s such an elite group of people that are advising the president of the United States,” Hurtado said. “It’s also a validation of our focus on the national security ecosystem over the last many years. [University System] Chancellor [John] Sharp and President Banks have embraced working in research areas that support the national security mission, and Marvin being selected is a validation of that approach, so we’re excited about that.”

Serving on her Ph.D. committee, Hurtado said Adams has been a personal mentor for her and is an advocate for women in engineering. 

“Marvin has a long history of supporting diversity — particularly women in engineering,” Hurtado said. “He has been a mentor to me and has had several female students. He stands out in that aspect. I have participated in many activities with him over the years, and he’s always very cognizant of that.”
Hurtado said Adams has made many important contributions to various committees, such as the Stockpile Assessment Team of U.S. Strategic Command, and assisted A&M in obtaining a federal contract for Los Alamos National Laboratories.

“Marvin has been selected for and served on many high level advisory boards and committees for the departments of Defense and Energy that have well prepared him to serve on this distinguished committee,” Hurtado said. “He will certainly make Texas A&M proud.”

Adams said he wants to express gratitude to the A&M System for allowing him to spend time researching national service and security matters.

“I want to express my gratitude to the Texas A&M University System for its culture, and its appreciation of natural national service. That’s really what has led me to be able to take advantage of these opportunities as the doors keep opening, I’m allowed to walk through them and try to contribute,” Adams said. “I’m grateful to Texas A&M for having that kind of environment, having that kind of culture and that kind of appreciation for service and valuing service.”

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