Originally planning to pursue a career in chemical engineering, Dr. Ivan Itkin received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, in 1956. Shortly after, however, he found that he was more interested in mathematics and pursued a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from New York University. After receiving his postgraduate degree, Dr. Itkin became an associate scientist at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory of Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh, PA. He then remained at Westinghouse Electric Corp. for more than a decade as a scientist, then senior scientist, and finally a fellow scientist. During this time, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1999, he was appointed director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management with the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his career as a nuclear scientist, Dr. Itkin was also active in the Pennsylvania government. In 1973, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he served for 25 years and was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from Chatham College. During his time with the House of Representatives, he served as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1984 and 1996, and was appointed majority caucus chairman for nearly a decade. He was elected majority whip from 1990 to 1992, majority leader from 1993 to 1994, and democratic whip from 1995 to 1998. Dr. Itkin served as U.S. Presidential Elector in 1992 and 1996. In 1998, before returning to a career in nuclear science, he was elected as the democratic nominee for Pennsylvania Governor by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
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