November 19, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Benz Inducted into Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers

Council recognizes notable alumni contributing to service, community, and leadership

Nuclear Engineer Jacob Benz

Nuclear Engineer Jacob Benz was inducted into the Oregon State University College of Engineering Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers.

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Jacob Benz, nuclear engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was inducted into the Oregon State University (OSU) Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers. He was awarded the honor during the 2021 Oregon Stater Awards on November 18, where the OSU College of Engineering celebrated Benz and others for their achievements at the frontiers of engineering and their profound impact on the engineering profession.

“It is an honor to be invited to join an organization that provides recognition and opportunities to early career engineers,” Benz said.

The council is reserved for OSU alumni who have distinguished themselves through professional practice and service to the university, the engineering profession, or society at large and who have made early career contributions that identify them as future leaders in their profession or field.

“The university and the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering transformed my career trajectory, and I look forward to fostering similar opportunities for others,” Benz said. “The professional relationships I made as part of that community opened up doors to nuclear arms control and nonproliferation—a field I had not previously known existed.”

Engineering a meaningful career path

Benz received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from OSU in 2005 and 2008, respectfully. Soon after, he joined PNNL as a nuclear engineer within the Radiological Science and Engineering Group in PNNL’s Energy and Environment Directorate. Today, Benz is a nuclear engineer in PNNL’s Global Security, Technology, and Policy Group in the National Security Directorate, where his work focuses on technologies and approaches for arms control, international safeguards, and nuclear nonproliferation.

“My path to nuclear engineering, and ultimately nuclear arms control, was not a straight line, but now I get to work with experts around the world to create the possibility of a safer future. Together, we are creating tools and techniques to limit and account for nuclear weapons among future treaty partners,” Benz said.

“I strive to return the favor to the next generation of arms control experts at universities and national laboratories and pass along what I have learned." – Jacob Benz, PNNL nuclear engineer

Paying it forward to future engineers

Benz’s projects involve collaboration and technical stakeholder engagement with domestic and international partners to advance tools and approaches to secure nuclear material and prevent and counter acts of terrorism.

“The future of nuclear arms control requires the collaboration of diverse experts across engineering disciplines. It is not a job or a mission that every engineer knows exists, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work in and share this research community with others,” Benz said.

Through the council, Benz looks forward to joining his OSU colleagues in engaging new and early career engineers to help address current and future national security challenges.

“I strive to return the favor to the next generation of arms control experts at universities and national laboratories and pass along what I have learned,” Benz said.

Published: November 19, 2021