In This Issue
Summer Bridge on Engineering the Energy Transition
June 26, 2023 Volume 53 Issue 2
This issue explores the energy transition needed to address the mounting threats of climate change. The articles are an excellent resource to help inform meaningful decisions and steps for energy-related contributions to reduce carbon emissions.

Editor's Note: Transition at The Bridge

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Author: Ronald M. Latanision

With this issue I bid farewell to my Bridge partner, Managing Editor Cameron Fletcher. She is retiring after 11 years with the NAE and a total of 37(!) at the National Academies. She joined the NAE staff in June 2012 and so seamlessly and masterfully assumed her responsibilities that one NASEM colleague thought she’d actually created the NAE’s flagship quarterly.

I couldn’t have asked for a better counterpart. Cameron and I were so consistently on the same page (not a pun!) that I accepted all her suggested ideas for issue topics and guest editors for them. And together we hit on the idea of interviewing people with a background in engineering who made their mark in other ways, from our first interview with PE and poet Richard Blanco, who read at President Obama’s inauguration, to engineer and writer Sam Florman (we consider him the godfather of the interviews), former Denver Broncos quarterback Charley Johnson, Boston rock band ounder Tom Scholz, Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo, and, most recently, bookstore founder and owner Lucy Yu. This is now one of the quarterly’s most popular features.

Cameron oversaw The Bridge’s adoption of color printing for figures and photos, instituted an evaluation process for articles, added an alternating column dedicated to the perspectives of the NAE president and chair, and introduced a thoughtful column called Invisible Bridges on intersections between engineering and society. She also successfully produced the exceptional issue—with 50 essays instead of the usual 7–9 articles—that marked the 50th anniversary of The Bridge, identifying many of the authors as well as inspired topics for the next 50 years of engineering contributions.

Most importantly, Cameron rigorously ensured the quality and accessibility of the articles in every issue, knowing that our readership spans engineers of every stripe—both among the NAE members and in university departments across the country—as well as members of Congress, industry leaders, students, and many others. NAE members and other authors and editors so appreciated her attentive and helpful efforts that they not only thanked her in print but in some cases signed up for repeat duty, volunteering to edit another issue or contribute another article. Comments such as “You are a very thoughtful, probing editor” and “your editing added polish to my draft” and “improved text structure and clarity” were typical and regular. Cameron is a seriously good writer.

In all her work, Cameron made clear that her aims were to help the NAE and Bridge authors look their best by communicating effectively, to make my and the issue editors’ work as easy as possible—and to have fun on company time! With her assiduous efforts and delightful humor, she achieved these goals, and more. With the ever-reliable assistance of Penny Gibbs, I believe we have been an exemplary team.

I want to include a cheerful and Cameronesque message delivered at her farewell party by a NASEM choral group known as the Refrains, with lyrics by songmistress Nancy Huddleston. It is in keeping with the Cameron we all know (and set to one of her favorite melodies).

Personent Hodie (for Cameron)

On this day that we sing
Cam’ron is re-tir-ing
We her choir, and her friends,
Bring our song before you,
Trying not to bore you


Say it’s not so, so, Cameron don’t go, go
We are sad, this is bad, in excelsis Deo!

2. Ours the doom, hers the mirth;
In her ab-sence a dearth
Of good cheer and sharp mind,
Editing our papers,
Joining in our capers


3. New bright star o’er her head,
By her heart she’ll be led—
No more deadlines to dread,
She can shed her work cares,
No more branding nightmares 

Final Refrain:

If you must go, go, Cameron don’t go slow
Get out fast, have a blast, in excelsis Deo!

Cameron, I will miss you. But I join all whose lives you touched during your time with The Bridge and at NASEM in wishing you much happiness, good health, and smooth sailing in this next chapter. Thank you.

About the Author:Ronald M. Latanision (NAE) is a senior fellow at Exponent.