Projects

Applying Nuclear Activation Analysis to the Study of Toxic Elements in Cotton Seeds
Developing a Temporal Data Mining (TDM) System for In-Situ Decommissioning (ISD) Sensor Network Test Bed
Improved Environmental Management and Computational Sciences Project at SC State University
Computer Simulations of Nuclear Processes and Fluid Dynamics
Web-based Spectra Analysis Software for Nuclear Activiation Analysis
Radiochemistry/Health Physics/Nuclear Engineeering

Improved Environmental Management and Computational Sciences Project at SC State University

Synopsis:
The Environmental Management Internship (EMI) works to prepare and diversify the technological workforce entering the environmental management profession.. Funding has allowed the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station (SRESFS) to build on its environmental education initiative as it continues to offer courses during its 15th year of operation. SRESFS recruits and educates an increased number of underrepresented groups in environmental science and engineering to prepare them to solve complex environmental management issues. We developed and delivered specific coursework that will enable students to meet the employment requirements for Department of Energy in environmental related career fields. Past interns have been provided research experiences in the environmental field.

 

Human:
SRESFS was able to recruit and fund critical office staff by hiring a full time academic coordinator. Also, a fiscal analyst was hired during the first year of funding. A consultant was hired to develop courses, create syllabi and other supporting documents. Teaching and/or program assistants have been hired each year to provide critical support to faculty during the summer months.

Workforce Development:
In the original proposal, a total of 108 course enrollments to 27 students (nine students taking four courses each summer over the course of three summers) were planned to be offered. However; as of year three there were a total 116 course enrollments to a total of 44 students. While taking classes at the Savannah River Site, students had the opportunity to tour labs within Savannah River National Lab (SRNL) and Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL). Students were able to network with DOE scientists and engineers to gain a better perspective of the career potential with DOE. They were made aware of future internship opportunities and received valuable information on DOE career choices. This program also help prepared students for the expectations of graduate school, including public speaking, preparing reports and poster presentations. Below are a few impact statements from SRESFS interns.

All opportunities afforded to students participating in the DOE Environmental Management Internship (EMI) are truly unique, yet necessary to maintain a pipeline of diverse and qualified applicants. As a result of completing these courses, the EMI students improved their analytical and critical thinking skills. The following course competencies achieved enable students to solve complex environmental management issues and meet the workforce development needs of DOE-EM. Students were able to:
• Address environmental stressors and pollution, their sources in the natural and workplace environments, their modes of transport and transformation, their ecological and public health effects, and existing methods for environmental disease prevention and remediation.
•Successfully conduct field studies, write experimental reports, conduct literature reviews and comprise an annotated bibliography
•Become familiar with the history of SRS and explore current contamination issues and remediation techniques taking place on site
•Become knowledgeable about the Savannah River Site and current contamination issues and remediation techniques in this area and abroad
•Conversant on remediation techniques currently being researched
•Analyze the biological, chemical, social, political, cultural, and economic factors that affect the environment.
•Have an attitude and ability to critically and independently investigate environmental issues.
•Understand the concept of natural ecosystems and the impact of human activity that causes major types of pollution
•Explain the scientific and social implications of climate changes and the effects of anthropogenic pollutants and human population growth on the environment.
Students expanded their knowledge base by learning sustainable practices in environmental science and the importance of preservation and restoration of natural habitats. By invoking critical thinking and use of the scientific method, they also learned, their interdisciplinary study as an intern gives them a competitive edge when applying to positions within the Department of Energy.

Bridge to the DOE-EM Mission:
We have been able to integrate course instruction with DOE field work, laboratories and applied research work by partnering with DOE to secure these opportunities and interactions and by working with the existing collaborators of
the field station. The DOE contacts also exposed the interns to research and DOE careers. The students not only heard about ongoing research, but also had a chance to go into the field and see real-life application of the technology that resulted from the laboratory’s research efforts.

Research and Development:
During the summer 2011, SRESFS had the honor of making a special presentation to the DOE-Savannah River Managers and Staff. Managers were able to hear perspectives of our SRS DOE Contact (also a previous SRESFS Intern), a 2010/2011 Faculty and Advisory Board member, and student perspectives. Students discussed why they were attracted to the program, how the program has impacted their career decisions thus far, and their future career plans. After the presentations, students presented their class project posters to the group in a poster forum.

On July 25th, students had an opportunity to showcase their posters and field station experiences to the SRS Citizen’s Advisory Board (CAB) bimonthly combined committee meeting at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Martinez, GA. This board is comprised of local stakeholders who are members of the surrounding communities, many represent local businesses or agencies. Students presented their posters and were available to answer questions from the committee. Students also participated in an oral and poster presentation during the DOE-EM/HBCU conference held at SC State University which included presidents from nine HBCU’s, DOE officials and students.

  

 


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