Katie Cook earned her Master’s of Science in Nuclear Engineering in May of 2019. She worked with Dr. Marianno on analyzing Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) dogs in a radioactive contaminated environment. USAR dogs are an essential emergency response component, where each dog can perform the equivalent work of 20 to 30 people. However, should any of these types of radiological events occur, the handlers of these dogs would have a difficult choice to make as there are little guidelines and protective equipment that could be utilized by USAR dogs in this type of environment. For this research, a room was sprayed with fluorine-18, and a dog executed minor search activities in this contaminated area. Using a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner both internal and external contamination from the dog was localized and quantified. Overall, this research is proving a viable method to simulate a radioactive environment safe enough for a dog to participate in but strong enough to create detectable contamination. This will allow researchers to gain insight into health concerns that may arise if a USAR dog took part in a real-world contamination event. Previously, Cook received her bachelors of science degree in 2014 from Georgia Institute of Technology in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering with a Chinese minor. After graduating, she joined Emerson Electric in their "Engineers in Leadership" program where she gained diverse experiences working in different functional groups including engineering design, logistics, project management, and marketing as well as international experience working and living abroad in Singapore. After finishing her Master’s degree at Texas A&M, she went to work at the Y-12 National Security Complex.
- K. Cook, "Analyzing Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Dogs in a Radioactive Contaminated Environment", M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2019).
- C. Marianno , M. Smith, K. Cook , "Analysis of Radionuclide Deposition Ratios from the Fukushima-Daiichi Incident", Journal of Health Physics, 114, 1, 13 (2018).