Jessica Chow


My name is Jessica Chow. I’m from Florida. I go to the University of California, Berkeley where I am a B.S. Nuclear Engineering candidate. 

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

Pivoting energy consumption from carbon-intensive sources to clean sources and making energy accessible to all communities are the two energy issues that are the most important to me. I’m incredibly passionate about energy education for young students as well as adults. From high schools and universities, most students will have encountered chemistry and physics but are extremely uneducated about our energy grid and radiation. One of the largest barriers for the proliferation of renewable energy and clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear, is that citizens and communities are not fully informed to the benefits and costs that different energy sources have on our environment and people. When people have reliable and clean energy, communities can revamp infrastructure, improve public health, and expand education. Energy is key to bridging the wealth gap in the United States as well as the rest of the world. Harnessing energy cleanly is how we will protect ourselves and the world we live in for generations to come. 

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

This summer, I’ve been working at a nuclear research facility in Belgium. The facility is developing a multipurpose research reactor which will use liquid metal (lead bismuth) as a coolant for the reactor. One of the issues of using liquid metal is that it can corrode steel and other structural materials in the reactor. I’ve been analyzing the effect of lead bismuth on steel over different periods of exposure. Understanding new coolants for nuclear reactors is key to developing the next generation of nuclear reactors that will be even more inherently safe than the reactors that are operational today. 

At Berkeley, I’ll be leading an environmental consulting group for the next year. I’ll be overseeing the client acquisition, project management, and development for this 40+ member organization. We have consulted for clients ranging from small businesses to emerging startups to national franchise chains, and Fortune 500 giants on developing business practices that emphasize responsibility to environmental, social, and community values. 

What are your plans for the next five years?

I’m not totally sure yet! In the fall, I’ll be applying for consulting, public service, and engineering jobs. I’d love to work for an organization or company in the energy sector. I’m even considering grad school in public policy!

What made you want to apply to SISE?

I applied to SISE because I’m not sure what I want to do professionally. Working and meeting with people from all different sustainability backgrounds and professions on a project together will hopefully give me some insight into my future aspirations. 

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

I’m looking forward to going to Chicago for the first time! I’ve never been to the Midwest for extended periods of time and I’m really excited to travel and sightsee in the city. 

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I love cats! Except that I’m slightly allergic. As long as I have some allergy medication at hand, I’ll pet kitties.