Aysha's leadership skills developed quickly and she got promoted after the Summer Institute 2018. This is her experience of the Summer Institute, and how it relates to her professional development
At the beginning of November 2017, I applied to the Summer Institute because I believed it would be an extraordinary opportunity to challenge myself in the areas which I needed to improve on. The six-week program began with three weeks of lectures and group work in Busan, Republic of Korea, followed by a week of technical tours. During the last two weeks, we attended leadership courses in Gyeongju, and spent our final days working on Networks for Nuclear Innovations (NNI). Upon the conclusion of the program, I returned home with a wealth of knowledge and experience, greater confidence in my abilities, and new friends from around the world.
The Summer Institute curriculum is designed to provide cutting-edge presentations and workshops on a full range of topics relevant to leaders. The presentations generally take place in the mornings, after which fellows break into working groups composed of around ten people. Each group is assigned a mentor, who provided us with guidance when we faced technical or communications related challenges.
As an integral part of the WNU SI leadership development program, the Summer Institute includes presentations from invited leaders who have made notable contributions to the nuclear energy industry. These presentations enabled me to interact directly with talented and inspirational individuals, who provided us with remarkable insights into the industry.
Being the only female UAE National in the program, I sought to use every minute to my advantage by networking with other fellows. Being in the Republic of Korea linked me with the majority of whom are directly involved in the development of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in UAE. Every minute was valuable, and I explored to use each one in the best possible way.
As mentioned, we had the chance to explore our capabilities by working on an NNI project. Each group had to choose a topic related to nuclear energy, our group’s topic was about communication. We had to work on finding ways of changing public perception regarding nuclear energy.
After two days of brainstorming, we concluded that the best way to do so was to share our own personal experiences of working in the industry. For example, one of our group members was deeply influenced by the Fukushima Daiichi accident. He shared his story about the accident and how it shaped his thoughts and motivated him to work harder to ensure nuclear energy continues to be safety and quality led industry. Another group member had witnessed the Chernobyl accident and shared her thoughts about the event. In addition, two other members were pregnant, which was a clear testament to the safe nature of working in nuclear energy plants, and there was a fellow who had made a professional shift from renewable energy to nuclear energy, believing that we are all working toward achieving the same goals. All those stories had the potential to change perceptions about peaceful nuclear energy, because people can relate easily to personal experiences.
Overall, the WNU SI program was a great experience; I gained knowledge, excellent networking opportunities and valuable expertise in an important field. I encourage all of you not to hesitate to embark upon these kinds of experiences, go out there, get out of your comfort zone, and open your eyes and mind to the world and the wonderful possibilities it offers you. And never stop learning.