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When you tell folks at Bring your Parents to School Day that you're a nuclear engineer, expect to get a variety of reactions (and some parents slowly backing away). Many folks hear the word nuclear and immediately imagine you wearing a full body suit made of lead while breathing like Darth Vader from your high-tech gas mask.

I'm a nuclear mom. Beat that, firefighter dad. (Source)

It might be glorious to set this sort of stereotype on its head and tell people that you work in nuclear medicine to help heart, kidney, and lung patients; or let them know that you work for the U.S. Navy and its fleet of nuclear subs.

But even if you do work with radioactive isotopes—and you may not even need to go further than saying those two words—the protective gear you wear and the precautions you and your cohort take isn't nearly as sci-fi as they (the other parents and kids) would imagine. That doesn't mean you should go around telling people how normal everything at your job is, though—a little bit of mystery goes a long way toward the cool factor.