Over 2,000 students, 78 volunteers, 8 hours, 1 day…These are the numbers that quantify the maximizing effort of the VC Summer NAYGN chapter during their High School Nuclear Power Blitz Day. On October 10, the VCS NAYGN chapter members went to 18 different high schools surrounding Columbia, SC (Fairfield, Lexington, Richland, Newberry counties) to teach high school science classes about Nuclear Power for the day.
NAYGN took on a mountain of a project when they set out with a goal to educate high school students in the Columbia area about nuclear power. In the past, the chapter would go one school at a time once or twice a year. It was difficult to see the benefits. This year was different. Based on the below testimonials, the kids were not the only ones impacted.
“It was amazing that nearly none of the students even realized there was an operating nuclear power generating station practically in their back yard. Only a handful knew anything about the nuclear power opportunities, and it was a great experience to help educate them on the opportunities.”
-Brian Giles, Sr. Auxiliary Operator
“Hearing the young kids answering to me in a roaring voice “Because is CLEAN!!” when I asked: Why is nuclear the best energy option? Was immensely rewarding to us”
-Magdalena Avila, piping engineering with CB&I, WIN & NAYGN member.
“Even though our presentation was directed towards the students, so much excitement was generated we even had teachers asking for more information about nuclear careers.”
– Mike Tuten, Operator-Auxiliary, NND Nuclear Plant Operations
“Getting the chance to meet the future engineers and techni-cians made this whole project worth it. I’m excited that we, as a company and as various organizations, were able to meet to teach and to mentor the students that could be our future employees and coworkers.
I’d do this again in a heartbeat because education, more than any other tool, is what changes individuals and shapes their futures. Thank you for the opportunity.”
-Amanda Smith Auxiliary Operator Unit 1
“It was rewarding to see so many young teenagers en-gaged. They were genuinely interested in learning how nuclear power provides their homes with safe, reliable, carbon-free electricity. I think their generation is ex-cited about opportunities in the future of nuclear.”
– Ryan Beiling, Operations Control room supervisor, VCS NND Ops.
“I really enjoyed spending time with local high school students and sharing information about the Nuclear Industry. I’d do it again in a heartbeat because I love what I do, and most people today take for granted the fact that flipping a simple switch can turn on their lights without knowing what all goes into making that luxury a reality.”
-Brandon Bickley, Construction ITAAC Engineer, Unit 2/3
“It was very evident when we spoke directly with the students about how much energy comes from a ura-nium fuel pellet, how that energy impacts their lives, and how they can harness that energy into a career, that we were really making a difference in opening their eyes to opportunities within their grasp.”
-Findlay Salter, Licensing Engineer NND
“One of the first questions I asked before we started was “By a show of hands how many of you know it is a nuclear power plant 30 minutes up the road”. Only five out of about forty student’s hands went up. By the end of the presentation, we had so many students with their hands up for questions we ran out of time before we could answer them all. We definitely made an impact that day.”
– Nicholle Turnipseed, Chemistry Specialist at SCE&G Units 2 &3
“It was great to see so many SCANA employees will-ing to talk to the kids about nuclear power. And likewise, hundreds of kids who were so interested in our industry as a whole!”
-Rick Preston, Operations Dept- VCS
“The teachers were as excited as the stu-dents that we were there to speak – at the end of the presentations, they said they looked forward to seeing us next year!”
-Courtney Tampas, PRA Engineer, Unit 1
“The engagement and interest shown by the students far exceeded my expectations. It was such an -amazing experience to share something I’m passionate about with such eager young minds.”
-Chris Felch, Design Engineering, U2/3
“I was amazed at the really good questions that the kids and the teachers asked.”
-Duane Twining, Reactor Engineering Unit 1
“It was invigorating, knowing that what we were doing could shape a student’s future. I just can’t believe the number of volunteers we had willing to sacrifice their time for the benefit of the students and the industry. It says a lot about our members’ passion about their jobs and the future of nuclear.”
-Chris Wolfe, VC Summer NAYGN President
“It was rewarding to speak with students after the session was over and see them internalize that there are some interesting jobs out there in nuclear power.”
-Jerrod Ewing, WEC NAYGN President
“It was great to see so many young people and possible future co-workers interested in nuclear power and their own future. I look forward to seeing the fruits of this event year after year.”
– Shaney Campbell, VCS NAYGN Public Information Chair, Design Engineering, Unit 1
“It was good to see the students not only interested in their future, but also interested in making Nuclear Power part of it.”
-Matt Owens, Sr. Aux Operator, U2/3