By Maggie Hwang
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
On Thursday May 23, 2013 the GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) chapter located in Wilmington, NC set out to inspire future industry professionals. The group organized and participated in engineering demonstrations with third and fourth grade students at the Gregory School of Science, Mathematics & Technology. The event was organized by GEH NAYGN Community Outreach chairs Tom Ganley and Maggie Hwang.
The focuses of the event were to show students hands-on demonstrations of engineering applications, to develop a continued relationship between NAYGN and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school, and to inspire students to pursue engineering in the future.
NAYGN members Keith Bentley and Maggie Hwang presented to three fourth grade classes about nuclear energy. They explained how nuclear power plants produce electricity, taught basic radiation concepts, and explained the practical uses of radiation. A Geiger counter was used to show how radiation is all around us and how it can be measured. With the interactive presentation, the presenters were able to convey tough concepts to the young audience. The students were each given plastic fuel pellet replicas to remember some of the exciting concepts that they learned.
NAYGN members Korey Hite and Maria Kretzing presented to three third grade classes about mechanical and electrical engineering. They brought in a working robotic arm to explain concepts of engineering and design. The students enjoyed the interactive and energetic presentation and took turns using the robotic arm to pick up different items around the classroom. The presentation also included a strong emphasis on the importance of good study habits in preparing for a career in engineering.
This event was the first the NAYGN chapter had done with the Gregory School. The feedback received from the 120 students and teachers involved was overwhelmingly positive, and the teachers appreciated the exposure to real-world engineering that the event afforded their students. The NAYGN chapter and the school are already busy planning future collaborations for the upcoming school year!