Sue Hudson Abreu
Associate Chief Administrative Judge (Technical)
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
For her distinguished career in nuclear medicine and safety helping to bridge the professions of engineering, medicine and law.
As an engineer, a U.S. Army officer, a medical doctor, a judge and a skydiver, Sue Hudson Abreu has consistently proven that she embraces all challenges and is unafraid to color outside the lines.
While studying engineering at Purdue, Abreu became a student athletic trainer for women’s sports. After encountering a doctor at the health center whose examination and prescribed treatment for an athlete’s injured knee ligament ran counter to her training, she first imagined becoming a doctor and applying her engineering expertise in the medical field. “I didn’t want my thoughts to be worth less just because someone else had more initials after their name,” Abreu recalls.
She earned her MD four years after graduating from Purdue and served in many roles for the Army, including Nuclear Medicine Consultant to the Army Surgeon General. She then retired from the military as a colonel in 2002. Despite extensive subsequent higher education, Abreu says the problem-solving skills she learned at Purdue “have meant more to me throughout my professional life than any other facet of all my schooling.”
Abreu says that early in her medical career she noticed other doctors with difficult cases sought her out to talk through their cases. “I finally realized that they just wanted help thinking,” Abreu says. “Most of them didn’t know that they were tapping into my ‘engineer brain’ more than into my reservoir of medical knowledge.”
Today, as an administrative judge, Abreu says she uses the same skills to analyze cases.
“We judges, who are lawyers, engineers and scientists, combine our analytic skills to sort out the facts, issues, laws, and regulations relevant to a case and make the determinations needed. Although we all bring extensive factual knowledge to our work, our analytic skills make the critical difference.”
When she isn’t applying her analytical skills to law or medicine, Abreu has been found jumping out of planes. She served as the team manager and team physician for the United States Parachute Team and assisted at record-setting events around the world.
Her advice for current Purdue students harkens back to her own experience as an engineering student and athletic trainer. She advises students to try out what intrigues them.
“Enjoy discovering yourself — not who your parents or others want you to be, but who you are, and what makes your soul soar. Don’t worry about your grades or your ultimate destination. Instead, focus on the path you are on right now and on doing your best at whatever you have chosen.”
Even if you might not succeed, don’t fear trying; even if you might be told ‘no,’ don’t fear asking. Don’t choose easy success. Instead, choose maximum growth.”
Sue Hudson Abreu
|2019-present||Associate Chief Administrative Judge (Technical), Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission|
|2015-2019||Administrative Judge (Technical), Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission|
|2009-2011||President, Nuclear/PET Division, Intersocietal Accreditation Commission|
|2002-2016||Healthcare and Management Consultant, Sue Abreu Consulting|
|2001-2002||Assistant Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Womack Army Medical Center|
|2001-2002||President, American College of Nuclear Physicians|
|2000-2002||Nuclear Medicine Consultant to U.S. Army Surgeon General|
|1998-2001||Medical Director, Quality Assurance, Womack Army Medical Center|
|1996-1998||Chief, Department of Radiology, Womack Army Medical Center|
|1990-1996||Chief, Nuclear Medicine Service, Womack Army Medical Center|
|1978||BSIDE, Purdue University|
|1982||MD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences|
|2011||JD, School of Law, Oklahoma City University|