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North Carolina A&T University – The Growing Danger of Nuclear Weapons

October 4, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT

Colloquium Abstract 

The world is in a precarious place right now and nuclear risk is higher than it has been in decades. The war in Ukraine has brought latent fears about nuclear war back to the surface. In recent years, the US has withdrawn from several arms control agreements that constrained US and Russian arsenals, and the last remaining treaty with Russia expires in 2026. Both the US and Russia are engaged in building a new generation of nuclear weapons. Physicists were, and still are, key actors in our nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise. From the very beginning of the nuclear weapons story, physicists have engaged policymakers about nuclear dangers and advocated for policies to reduce them. Given the growing risks, physicists need to renew their role in educating the public and policymakers.

About the Speaker

Dr. Tara Drozdenko is the director for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists working on the federal-level policy changes and commitment to diplomacy, so the United States is a leader in reducing the nuclear threat.

Dr. Drozdenko brings nearly two decades of experience in the national security field, managing complex government programs, supervising research teams, and communicating with the public about climate change and nuclear weapons. She has worked on issues related to weapons of mass destruction for both the U.S. Navy and U.S. State Department. While at the State Department, Drozdenko spent several years working on missile defense and arms control issues, including representing the U.S. at the Senior Group on Proliferation at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Most recently, she served as acting executive director of Outrider Foundation, a nonprofit digital media organization focused on ending the threat of nuclear war and reversing the course of global climate change. In that role, she set the vision for the organization, working to integrate Outrider’s messaging on climate and nuclear issues. She also brought a focus on racial justice to the organization. Before leading the organization, Drozdenko served as Outrider’s managing director for nuclear policy, producing innovative media for public education and advocacy on nuclear weapons.

Drozdenko also co-founded Highly NRiched, an open-access platform helping educators incorporate lessons about nuclear weapons into their classroom. She was chief of the Country/Regime Sanctions Unit at the U.S. Department of Treasury from 2008 to 2012, where she managed more than 20 of the U.S. government’s economic sanctions programs, including portions of the Iran and North Korea sanctions.

Drozdenko served in the U.S. State Department Office of Counterterrorism from 2006 to 2008 and as a physical scientist in the Bureau of Arms Control from 2003 to 2006. Drozdenko has a Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in plasma physics from the University of California – Los Angeles.

This event is accessible for attendance via Zoom.


October 4, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
Event Category:


Department of Physics, NC A&T State University


Marteena Hall Room 310