As president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Maria Korsnick (B.S., nuclear engineering, ‘86) works to build awareness of nuclear energy and its benefits, both economic and environmental. In doing so, she draws on the rigorous engineering education she received at UMD, her comprehensive knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues, and on many years of hands-on professional experience in reactor operations. She has a profound knowledge of energy policy and regulatory issues.
Before joining NEI, she was senior vice president of Northeast Operations for Exelon Corp., responsible for overseeing operation of the Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2, R.E. Ginna, and Nine Mile Point 1 and 2 nuclear power plants. She has also served as chief nuclear officer and acting chief executive officer at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.
Where/how did you get started on your mechanical engineering journey?
When I was at Maryland, the nuclear engineering department was separate from mechanical engineering. The fact that Maryland has a research reactor was significant to me—it shows investment in the future.
Who/what inspires you?
Nuclear energy is the carbon-free power source that will help us mitigate climate change. Its reliability, scalability and round-the-clock availability can pair perfectly with intermittent renewable power. Studies show this partnership creates the most affordable carbon-free energy solution. I am inspired every day by the hundreds of thousands of dedicated nuclear industry workers worldwide who contribute so much of their expertise and training to their communities, the economy, the environment, and their countries’ national and energy security.
What has helped you to succeed in your overall personal and professional journey?
I have worked 35 years in the commercial nuclear industry. I have been a Senior Control Room operator, engineer, site vice president, corporate vice president and chief nuclear officer. I credit my success to being curious, being open to new opportunities, working hard and valuing others’ input.
What advice would you offer to current students?
Engineers solve problems. Your opportunities are endless—we need all disciplines to solve the climate and energy challenges facing the world.
What have been some of your greatest personal or professional successes?
Having two beautiful children in the midst of a very busy career. Keeps you humble and focused on how to make the world a better place.
March 17, 2022