Judi
Judi Greenwald
Executive Director

Judi Greenwald is the Executive Director of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance.

Ms. Greenwald has over 35 years of energy and environmental policy leadership experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, including the U.S. Congress, the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES, formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change). Highlights of her distinguished career include working on the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments as congressional committee staff; overseeing energy and environmental programs at C2ES and DOE; co-founding the Carbon Capture Coalition; advising U.S. state and regional greenhouse gas initaitives; and collaborating with stakeholders to advance both economic and environmental goals.

She has focused extensively on deep decarbonization through the interplay of public policy, technology innovation, human behavior, and markets. She served as Deputy Director for Climate, Environment, and Energy Efficiency at US DOE's Energy Policy and Systems Analysis Office, and the Senior Climate Advisor to the Energy Secretary. She is a fellow at Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. Ms. Greenwald received a B.S. in Engineering, cum laude, from Princeton University, and an M.A. in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University.

Dr. Patrick White
Patrick White, PhD
Project Manager

Patrick White is a Project Manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance where he manages project research, stakeholder engagement, and related activities. He leads research and advocacy related to advanced reactor licensing strategies, regulatory modernization at the NRC, and safety assessments of nuclear systems.

Patrick has completed his PhD in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with his doctoral thesis on licensing methods and regulatory frameworks for commercial fusion technology. He was a graduate researcher on the 2018 MIT "Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World” study, co-authoring report sections on licensing issues related to advanced nuclear reactor deployment. He subsequently received his M.S. in Nuclear Science and Engineering from MIT in 2019 with his thesis research on advanced reactor regulatory pathways.

Patrick has worked in the commercial nuclear sector as an engineer with MPR Associates in Alexandria, VA. His nuclear experience includes safety assessments of modifications at existing nuclear power plants, design evaluations of components at new nuclear power plants, and co-authoring an ERPI report on transitioning existing baseload nuclear power plants to flexible power (or load following) operations. Prior to working at MPR Associates, Patrick received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012.

Victor Ibarra
Victor Ibarra Jr.
Nuclear Innovation Analyst

Victor Ibarra Jr. is an Analyst for the Nuclear Innovation Alliance where he works on a variety of nuclear innovation projects and leads research and advocacy related to state-level advanced reactor policy and legislation.

Before joining the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, Mr. Ibarra spent his time working as a Health Physicist for the UT Health Science Center in Houston, TX where he focused on using his background in radiological science to protect people and the environment from the potential hazards of radiation. He also brings in experience from NASA, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and brings in nuclear science and technology policy experience by having previously served as Chair for the Texas Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation and as a Delegate for the U.S. Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation.

Mr. Ibarra received his B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University and will complete his M.S. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University in December 2024.

Erik Cothron
Erik Cothron
Nuclear Innovation Analyst

Erik Cothron is an analyst for the Nuclear Innovation Alliance where he helps create the conditions for advanced nuclear reactor success through research projects, stakeholder engagement, and policy advocacy.

 
Prior to joining the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, Mr. Cothron was an energy consultant for Guidehouse, working with the U.S. Department of Energy on its energy efficiency program. He has experience developing federal regulations, performing engineering and market analysis, interacting with stakeholders, and ensuring compliance with DOE regulations for commercial equipment. He also volunteers for the Nuclear Alternative Project, a non-profit organization aiming to bring advanced nuclear energy to the island of Puerto Rico.


He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in material science and engineering from Virginia Tech, along with a graduate certificate in nuclear engineering and a concentration in nuclear materials. 

Devin Watts
Devin L. Watts
Innovation Coordinator

Devin L. Watts is the Innovation Coordinator for the Nuclear Innovation Alliance and Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp.  She focuses on planning, program implementation, and operations. 

Ms. Watts comes to NIA with over twenty years of diverse experience including recruiting, business development, program management, training, process development and delivery for effective and efficient workflow, management of multi-functional groups, customer service, and liaison with internal and external stakeholders. She has managed services and operations for many organizations, with a focus on early-stage and entrepreneurial small businesses and nonprofits with passionate and purposeful people. Her professional style is based on problem solving through excellent interpersonal communications and development and implementation of best practices.

Rama Ponangi
Rama T. Ponangi
Fellow
Rama T. Ponangi is a Fellow at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, and is an India-trained lawyer specializing in nuclear law and policy. Prior to joining to NIA, Rama worked as a Research Assistant under Professor Donna Attanasio, Director, Energy Laws, The George Washington University Law School, where he organized a 4-day conference titled “Investable Nuclear Energy” covering topics of Environment, Social and Governance aspects of nuclear energy, supply chain for the advanced nuclear reactors, future of the nuclear technology, garnering public support and role of academia in shaping next generation of nuclear law and policy experts. 
 
In the past, Rama interned at the Office of Legal Affairs, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria, where he primarily assisted its Legislative Assistance activities such as reviewing the draft nuclear legislation of Member States and assisted in conducting bilateral and multilateral meetings such as Role of a Legal Advisor in a Regulatory Body and International Nuclear Liability Expert (INLEX). Rama also undertook research on the topic of safety, security and liability aspects of Transportable Nuclear Power Plants (TNPPs).
 
Rama has completed his Bachelors in Law - B.A.,LL.B. (Specializing in Energy Laws) from University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehradun, India. He has completed a diploma in International Nuclear Law from the International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL), University of Montpelier, France organized by Nuclear Energy Agency, OECD. Rama has completed his Masters in Law - LL.M. in Energy and Environmental Laws from The George Washington University Law School as GW Merit Scholar and Randolph C. Shaw Environmental Graduate Environmental Fellow. Rama has completed several other niche certifications in nuclear energy and law. 
 
Rama is also a Research Associate at the Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University.
In Memoriam: Danielle Emche
In Memoriam
Danielle Emche, Project Manager

Danielle Emche was a project manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance. Danielle passed away unexpectedly in August 2022. She was a wonderful colleague - nice, smart, and a person you could depend on. Her work on federal policy, especially on Nuclear Regulatory Commission reform and Department of Energy innovation, helped enable advanced nuclear energy as a climate solution. We at the NIA mourn her loss.

In honor of her tremendous contribution to our mission, NIA has established the Danielle Emche Memorial Internship and Fellowship Fund. Emche interns and fellows will pursue nuclear innovation policy project at NIA and will be selected based on their potential to make major contributions to enabling advanced nuclear energy as a climate solution. You can donate to the Fund by selecting the "Danielle Emche Memorial Internship and Fellowship Fund" option on the NIA donation page here.