Bushnell University Professor Named Next-Generation Fellow

A large group of coalition members, including Jonathan Alfson (rear, center-right), visited the office of Sen. Ron Johnson
A large group of coalition members, including Jonathan Alfson (rear, center-right), visited the office of Sen. Ron Johnson

EUGENE, Ore. – Bushnell University is proud to announce that Jonathan Alfson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics, has been selected as one of four Next-Generation Fellows for 2024 by the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction, in partnership with the Arms Control Association (ACA). This prestigious one-year fellowship recognizes Alfson’s dedication to nuclear threat reduction and his potential to shape future policies in this critical field. 

The Next-Generation Fellowship aims to strengthen the participation of graduate students, postdocs, and early-career physicists and engineers in advancing nuclear weapons threat reduction. By providing a platform for emerging leaders like Dr. Alfson, the fellowship cultivates a new generation of experts poised to tackle the complex challenges of global security. 

This fellowship offers an unparalleled opportunity for Dr. Alfson to contribute to global security efforts. As part of the fellowship, Dr. Alfson will partner with a senior expert to conduct research and other work furthering the goals of nuclear threat reduction. This work could serve as the basis for an article in esteemed publications such as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Moreover, Alfson will have the chance to present his findings at a prominent venue, amplifying his impact on the discourse surrounding nuclear arms control. 

In addition to research and writing, the fellowship provides comprehensive training in policy communication, advocacy, and partnership building with organizations like the Arms Control Association (ACA) and other non-governmental groups. Alfson has already been sponsored to attend a first-of-its-kind D.C. engagement event in April, spending three days in Washington, D.C. learning about advocacy and meeting with congressional offices. Over those days, coalition members met with over 50 congressional offices of key legislators who work on committees, sub-committees and caucuses dealing with nuclear weapons issues.  

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Jonathan Alfson (center) and his mentor Fred Lamb (left) visit the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley from Oregon, with a third coalition member (right)

Reflecting Bushnell University’s commitment to civic engagement, Alfson engaged in advocacy and outreach efforts while visiting seven congressional offices, including those of both Senators from Oregon. By fostering direct interaction with policymakers, this experience empowered fellows to advocate for evidence-based policies that prioritize global security and nuclear threat reduction. 

Furthermore, Alfson will benefit from networking opportunities with key stakeholders in nuclear arms control policy and science advocacy. Through collaborations with leading experts and organizations, he will deepen his understanding of the complexities surrounding nuclear security and expand his professional network to drive meaningful change. 

“I am truly grateful that I was selected for this fellowship,” said Alfson. “As a Next-Generation Fellow, I am excited to learn more about science policy and advocacy. The experiences I have as a fellow will also strengthen my teaching, since I will be better prepared to discuss the relationship between scientific expertise and policy decisions. Most importantly, though, I am happy to know that I will be contributing to a safer world, furthering the Christian ideals of peace and reconciliation.” 

Dr. Reed Mueller, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bushnell University, expressed pride in Alfson’s achievement, stating, “Dr. Alfson’s recognition as a Next-Generation Fellow highlights not only his commitment to the public good as an excellent early-career scholar, but also Bushnell University’s commitment to fostering meaningful civic engagement arising from a Christian Higher Education context. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor and look forward to the impact of his contributions to nuclear threat reduction.” 

As part of the fellowship, Alfson will also have the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Princeton Summer School on Science and Global Security, further expanding his knowledge and expertise in this critical field. Additionally, upon successful completion of the fellowship, Alfson will be eligible for a follow-on grant to continue his education and work on nuclear threat reduction for an additional year. 

Alfson’s selection as a Next-Generation Fellow underscores Bushnell University’s dedication to nurturing the next generation of leaders. Through his research, advocacy, and collaboration, Alfson will play a pivotal role in advancing solutions to one of the most pressing challenges of our time. 

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