STEM Professional of the week

Daniel J. Santos, P.E.      
U.S. Navy

Born in Cidra, Puerto Rico, Daniel J. Santos is the son of two career public servants: his father an electrical engineer and his mother a high school principal. He credits his deep Hispanic family roots for instilling in him the values of perseverance, responsibility, and serving others from a young age. By age 20, he had earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and entered the U.S. Navy as an officer.

For Daniel Santos, becoming a U.S. Navy engineer was the best way to combine a technical career with service to his country. While in the U.S. Navy, he graduated from Bettis Reactor Engineering School in Pittsburgh, earned a master’s degree in engineering science (mechanical engineering) from the Naval Post Graduate School, earned an MBA from the University of Maryland, and obtained his professional engineer license.

With the advent of a nuclear renaissance, Daniel saw a growth opportunity and a new challenge at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. By age 30, Daniel became one of the youngest Hispanic public servants to join the ranks of the Senior Level Service in the federal government, the highest level for a technical career track. He quickly established himself as an expert in his technical field not only domestically but also internationally when he was elected by other Countries to become the Chairman of the Multinational Design Evaluation Program, Digital Instrumentation and Controls Group. As Chairman, Daniel leads a group of technical experts who leverage their knowledge and experience to improve the safety assessment and safety level of nuclear reactors worldwide.

His current responsibilities at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission include advising the agency on technical and regulatory issues involving instrumentation and controls for various advanced nuclear reactor designs. Daniel also serves as the cyber security expert contributing to the development of cyber security guidance for the protection of digital computers, communications systems, and networks from cyber attacks.

Daniel is an enthusiastic role model within the NRC and in the community volunteering in activities that actively promote science, engineering and math to the next generation. His involvement includes local science fairs, participation in National Engineers Week activities and serving as a judge on the National Science Bowl sponsored by the Department of Energy.

A musician since childhood, Daniel is the director and keyboard player of a Latin band called Ocho de Bastos. Very prominent in Washington D.C., the band was selected to represent the Hispanic culture as part of the National Cathedral 9/11 10th anniversary commemoration.

Daniel and his wife Yolimar are the proud parents of three children. Daniel was honored with the HENAAC Luminary award in 2012.

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