Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides

“I choose to be an engineer to help the country produce clean electricity and reduce its carbon imprint,” says McAndrew-Benavides, a manager of industry infrastructure at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group in Washington, D.C., that promotes nuclear energy.

Although the 31-year-old is on the leading edge of the Millennial generation, she shares many traits with her younger cohorts, including constant career revamping and a passion for sustainable energy. She says this passion motivated her to get an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering and a master’s degree in educational leadership. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in organizational leadership.

“There’s a stark difference between the Gen Y and the boomer,” says McAndrew-Benavides. “All of the psychological and social aspects of the past 50 years feed into this a little.” She adds that one thing she would like to see change in the industry is for companies to better understand generational communication barriers.

She began her career at NEI six years ago. She has rotated through seven different job titles, including operations, quality-and-performance assurance, nuclear engineering and technical assistant to the vice president. She is president of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear group.