The Exelon West NAYGN Chapter utilizes their broad foot print—6 sites distributed throughout Illinois—and their proximity to Chicago to reach and educate America’s next generation on the facts and science of Nuclear Power. Several years ago, the Chapter pushed for each site to begin a Nuke 101 program because informed educators will be able to reach more children than our members. To date, four of the six locations have held Nuke 101s, reaching dozens of teachers ranging from middle school to high school.
The first half of 2014 has been a very busy season for the Chapter. Exelon West NAYGN members from Quad Cities partnered with a local university, St. Ambrose, in their “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” in which over 500 girls from pre-school to high school came to learn about engineering. The same group of people also annually staffs a booth representing nuclear energy at a local middle school’s science expo. Chapter members from Byron kicked off National Engineers’ Week with a hands-on forum to give children and adults the chance to interact with local engineers at the Discover Center Museum’s “Discover Engineering” event in February. Multiple sites within Exelon West have been invited to speak to high school AP science classes about nuclear energy on an annual basis.
Exelon West chapter members also like to attend events with other sites within the chapter, broadening their network base. Members from multiple sites within the chapter held a booth at the Rowe-Clark Academy Career Fair to promote STEM and nuclear power and are at this very minute hosting an all-day Mathletes event with the same STEM and nuclear power focus that will reach about 80 elementary school students. This event is unique because Exelon West NAYGN is partnering with another young graduate organization, ComEd’s GrADS, in an effort to expand their outreach opportunities. This partnership was developed just last year.
Children are the future, but many individuals of the present are also very misinformed about nuclear power. To influence this front, NAYGN members at every plant should work to support a “Community Day” every year in which members from the community can come to the training buildings and learn about their local nuclear power plant.