Reger named nuclear engineering student marshal


By Tessa M. Woodring

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David Alan Reger will be honored by the Penn State College of Engineering as the student marshal for the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering. Reger will graduate with two degrees — a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He will represent the program at the virtual Penn State spring commencement on May 9.

Elia Merzari, associate professor of nuclear engineering, will be Reger’s faculty marshal, an honor chosen by the student because of Merzari’s mentorship and guidance.

Hailing from Harrison City, Reger is the son of Bob and Beth Reger. He graduated from Penn-Trafford High School in 2016.

At a young age, Reger knew he was interested in nuclear engineering.

“I’ve been inspired to pursue nuclear engineering for a long time, starting sometime during middle school, as we started learning more about chemistry and physics,” Reger said. “Nuclear caught my eye because it seemed very cool and futuristic to me, and that stuck with me all throughout high school and into college as I learned more and more about it.”

Reger was the recipient of the Monty Schultz Memorial Scholarship in Nuclear Engineering and the Louis A. Harding Memorial Scholarship.

In his time at Penn State, he was the president of Alpha Nu Sigma, secretary of the American Nuclear Society and a member of the Inner Dimensions Jazz Ensemble. He worked as a test engineering intern at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, where he designed test fixtures in tools to aid the production of firing systems. He was also a thermal analysis intern at the Idaho National Lab, where he helped develop a reference model for pebble bed reactors.

He completed a research project while at Penn State that focused on the simulation of pebble bed reactors. In this research, he carried out flow simulations of 100,000 fuel pebbles using the Summit supercomputer in the Oak Ridge National Lab.

After graduation, Reger will continue his education at Penn State with a goal of obtaining his doctorate in nuclear engineering. For his research, he plans to focus on the application of high-performance computing to nuclear thermal hydraulics.

Reger offered a piece of advice to those students looking into pursuing nuclear engineering.

“I would suggest that students look into all of the different job options that are available with a degree in nuclear engineering because they reach much farther than just commercial power,” Reger said. “There's so many interesting things that have nuclear engineering applications that few people ever realize or consider because they’re not immediately thought of when thinking of this major.”


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Megan Lakatos

David Alan Reger headshot

David Alan Reger. IMAGE: PROVIDED