Teacher Workshop at IYNC/NAYGN Public Information Day 2012

13 Sep, 2012

[Approx. Read Time: 2 minutes]

By Suzanne Baker, Guest Author and Director of PopAtomic Studios

I recently had the privilege of participating in the Nuclear Technology Workshop for Teachers in Charlotte, NC.  The all-day event, organized by Kristine Madden (NextEra Energy) and Dr. Stephen Harris (Savannah River National Laboratory – SRNL), was a part of the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC)/ North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) Public Information Day.  The workshop had a great turn out- about 50 area science teachers were in attendance.

The workshop was an excellent experience in collaboration, information exchange, and included nuclear professionals from all over the country.

Steve Hensel (SRNL) presented the concept of radioactivity.

Steve Hensel of Savannah River National Laboratory speaks at the event.

Suzy Baker (Director at PopAtomic Studios) served as the key-note speaker and discussed the integration of art in relating nuclear concepts, as well as the Nuclear Literacy Project.  PopAtomic Studios is focused on creating designs and public artwork that challenge commonly held fears and misconceptions about nuclear energy. The goal is to inspire everyday citizens to learn about and actively support a clean energy future with nuclear energy as the safe and most efficient alternative.

Mural by Suzanne Baker, PopAtomic Studios

Suzanne Baker, Keynote Speaker and Director of PopAtomic Studios

Adam Bingham of Duke Energy discussed computer science applications and careers at Duke.

Adam Bingham gets involved.

The workshop activities included demonstrations that the teachers could take back and demonstrate in the classroom.

Jana Thames of Southern Company explained radioactive half-life using M&M’s! Yum!

Jana Thames (on the right in purple)

Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI’s) Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides worked with several brave teachers to act out a fission reaction using a clapping routine. Talk about making learning fun!

Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides (far left)

Tim Rogers (3rd from left) demonstrated the concept of radioactive atoms vs. stable atoms using the ANS marshmallow activity.

From Left are volunteers Morgan Davis, Kristine Madden, & Tim Rogers

Nicolas Hernandez, a nuclear engineer with Duke Energy, presented a session on Nuclear Power.

Nicolas Hernandez

The event wrapped up with an incredibly informative Careers Panel, organized and moderated by Suzy Baker, which highlighted the vast opportunities in the nuclear industry ranging from technical jobs like welding and construction to human resources, communications, engineering, management and research and development.   The teachers were especially surprised and excited to learn that up to 40% of the nuclear industry workforce is expected to retire within the next five years, which means more and more job opportunities in the nuclear industry as they plan their college majors and careers.

The Teacher’s Workshop was a great success.  Here is a link to the slides that were used (first 5 links listed), as well additional public outreach materials courtesy of NA-YGN: http://na-ygn.org/publicinfo/index.php?Page=docs

Many thanks to Duke Energy for hosting our workshop and their professional staff for their assistance!

About the author

Stephen Harris
Stephen Harris

Statistical consultant and operations researcher at the Savannah River National Laboratory. Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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