Tetyana Martin Becomes Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering's First Online Master of Nuclear Engineering Graduate

Among the inaugural cohort of Purdue University’s online Master of Nuclear Engineering degree stands Tetyana Martin. Tetyana is the first graduate of the School of Nuclear Engineering’s online graduate program. This achievement will advance her flourishing career in the nuclear industry.

Born in Ukraine, Martin spent her formative years in a ‘reactor town,’ a community located near a nuclear power plant. Growing up surrounded by the vibrant energy of the industry with both her parents employed at the plant, Martin's passion for nuclear technology and education was ignited. It was there that Martin’s career began as a teacher of technical English to engineers at the plant.  
After obtaining a master’s degree in education in Ukraine and marrying her husband, Tim, an American nuclear engineer, the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2010 to further pursue their careers in the nuclear industry. Martin's passion for nuclear energy led her to join the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, where she dedicated several years of her career. During her tenure, she obtained her senior reactor operator’s certification and subsequently spent 18 months at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Phoenix, Arizona, where she developed a deep appreciation for Arizona.

In 2018, Martin and her husband decided to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona, where she accepted a role as a project manager at the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. Motivated by her love for education and the need for advanced academic credentials to continue advancing in her career, Martin decided to return to school to obtain a master’s degree.  
“It’s funny because I always wanted an engineering degree,” said Martin. “Once I received my first master’s [in education], I wanted to get my master's in engineering, but I ran out of money and resources, and needed to work. The timing was not right. The second time I tried to get my engineering degree, I met my husband and knew I couldn’t commit to a program because of the life changes I knew were ahead. So, it didn’t happen again. Now, in order to get to director-level positions at my company, I must have a technical degree. Because all my previous degrees were in art, I knew that I needed to continue my education.”  
Martin enrolled in the Fall 2021 inaugural online Master of Nuclear Engineering cohort. With many options to choose from, Martin chose Purdue because the program offered her the challenge, rigor, and flexibility she needed to progress her career, learn about emerging technologies, and maintain her personal and professional commitments. In addition, the online Master of Nuclear Engineering offered engaging courses taught by world-renowned faculty who are part of Purdue University’s online engineering education program, ranked third in the nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2024). 
As a 100% online and new program, Martin knew there would be a steep learning curve and some adjustment to the curriculum. Initially, Martin showed a preference for courses aligning closely with her current endeavors and future aspirations. To her surprise, she found the content of the courses she initially shied away from, to not only interesting, but very relevant to the future of Nuclear Engineering. 
“There are three classes on artificial intelligence. Initially, I was not interested in them at all; I was more interested in courses that I thought were practical and more applicable to the nuclear power plant,” said Martin. “But I decided to take two of the three classes, and I must say that they were absolutely different and not what I expected. I really learned something new and found them to be very relevant. Artificial intelligence is here to stay; so, although I was resistant to some of the classes, I actually really enjoyed them.”
Martin found support for her classes through virtual office hours. Many professors and teaching assistants were responsive and flexible as she managed her course load and full-time work schedule. In addition, the program's integrative curriculum allowed Martin to find support in her classmates, where she engaged and forged connections with nuclear engineers from various backgrounds and nuclear plants across the world.  
“Through classes and projects, you meet a lot of different people and you actually develop some friendships. The nuclear world is small, so you treasure those relationships,” said Martin. “It’s not only knowledge, but it is also relationships, and I am grateful for that.”  

While seeking her degree, Martin’s biggest challenge was finding the balance between her work, school, and personal life. Acknowledging that work and school have held more weight while completing her degree, Martin’s ability to plan ahead was a major key to overcoming her challenges. In addition, Martin has an immense appreciation for her family's unwavering support and patience during her pursuit. 

As she nears completion in May, Martin eagerly anticipates a celebration shared with her loved ones. She is excited to see how her strengthened knowledge and confidence in nuclear, civil, and materials engineering will showcase itself in the workplace. In addition, Martin recently enrolled in a mentorship program at work, kickstarting her pathway to director-level positions.
Martin appreciates the online Master of Nuclear Engineering program and the sense of pride she felt whenever she “nuked out” a challenge. She firmly believes that nuclear is the key to our future, and we must create, develop, and improve technologies to progress the field.
“There is a fear of nuclear engineering. People outside of nuclear think you are a crazy scientist when you tell them what you do. But it’s very interesting and not as complex as it looks; so, don’t be afraid of it. Nuclear is the best technology that we have. It's safe, reliable, clean, and isn't going anywhere.” 
For professionals interested in learning about the online Master in Nuclear Engineering degree, please visit https://engineering.purdue.edu/NE/academics/graduate/MSonline