Area educators tour SRS, learn about its needs
Educators from area elementary, middle and high schools recently toured the Savannah River Site, experiencing the Savannah River National Laboratory, Defense Waste Processing Facility and Salt Waste Processing Facility while learning about other missions, all a part of Nuclear Science Week.
“From SRS to the classroom, this opportunity serves to showcase real-world applications of science, technology, mathematics and engineering. You really can’t grasp the depth of the work at SRS without spending a day with us,” said Kim Mitchell with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions education outreach program. “We also provide guidance on current and expected job needs in the nuclear industry, especially in critical skill areas such as engineers, production operators, radiation control personnel and several other occupations. Teachers are the direct link to our future workforce.”
“This experience has been of enormous value,” said Merrell Garner, director of Student Learning-Middle School and Gifted Programs for Columbia County, Ga. “Being able to put my hands and eyes on the things at SRS enables me to better understand the missions here. It gives me the passion to go back and articulate to our district leaders what’s needed for our students as they prepare to become a part of the future workforce.”
This tour marks the sixth consecutive year that several facilities at SRS have been opened to area educators.
“Our goal is to provide teachers with insight into the operations and missions at the Savannah River Site, and in particular the Liquid Waste mission here,” said Dean Campbell, Savannah River Remediation public affairs director. “Equipped with this knowledge, our local educators can advocate for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields, especially future jobs at SRS.”
Through this intensive, one-day event, educators also learn firsthand of the diversity of occupations found at SRS and the sheer size of the 310-square mile complex owned by the Department of Energy employing thousands of workers through several contractor companies.
“This tour is incredible. I have learned so much in a short period of time,” added Garner. “The depth and continuity of the material provided is unbelievable and all incredibly valuable. We need to get more of our teachers through this program.”
Nuclear Science Week is an international, broadly observed, 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.