AIKEN – Educators from high schools and universities toured the Savannah River Site, experiencing the Defense Waste Processing Facility, Salt Waste Processing Facility, Savannah River National Laboratory and other nuclear missions, all a part of Nuclear Science Week.
“The purpose of this initiative to help local educators develop the academic programs needed not only to develop future scientists and engineers, but also welders, mechanics, production operators, radiation control personnel and several other occupations,” said Kim Mitchell, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Education Outreach Program. “We want to help teachers throughout the Central Savannah River Area enhance interest in and prepare students for jobs related to the nuclear industry.”
Through this intensive one-day tour, educators learned firsthand of the programs and missions performed at the 310-square mile complex owned by the Department of Energy.
“Our strategy is to give the teacher’s a day to experience the current missions at the Savannah River Site and the opportunities available to their students who are interested in working in the Liquid Waste mission,” said Maddie Blair, Savannah River Remediation, Education Outreach. “We want the teachers to leave knowing their students have a future in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.”
This tour marks the fifth consecutive year that several facilities at SRS have been opened to local middle school and high school science and math educators, each gathering information to transfer to their students.
Joey Martin, teacher at A.R. Johnson High School, stated that he greatly valued the exposure to the scope of work performed at the Savannah River National Laboratory.
“Seeing it as an educator, helps me to teach these kids about the opportunities for them as technicians, chemists or physicists,” Martin said. “The material science research and development we saw today was fascinating. This is the creative side that many of our students are interested in. They don’t want to sit in a lab. They want to design, play with stuff and improve things. I can definitely use this to network with kids.”
Nuclear Science Week is an international week-long celebration to focus local, regional, national and international interest on all aspects of nuclear science. NSW activities advance education, stimulate participation and generate communication that provides insight and visibility for the achievements of the nuclear sciences.
DOE provides a wide variety of science and literacy outreach programs at SRS throughout the year. The primary goals of these outreach programs are to enhance interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology and to support improvements in education in the Central Savannah River Area by using the unique resources available at SRS.