Department of Energy

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Speakers Bureau takes STEM Into the Classroom in New Mexico

October 16, 2019

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Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Speakers Bureau at Carlsbad High School.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Speakers Bureau recently visited Carlsbad High School to talk to earth science students about the geology at the site.

The Earth and Space Science section is a new core science class that was added to the handbook this year. It is the first course on campus to adopt the New Mexico Next Generation State Standards (NGSS). 

Earlier that week, students in Charlin Hernandez's Earth and Space Science classes had begun exploring the Earth's layers, as they embarked on the plate tectonics unit. They had learned about various consequences of continental drift and plate tectonics, such as earthquakes and volcanos. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's Speakers Bureau was asked to come in and talk about the geology and formations at and around the site.

“It contributed to us understanding the depths of the continental crust and the lithosphere, as well as stability of our region away from seismic activity and the elemental composition of the land,” Hernandez said.

As the lead of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Speakers Bureau, I know that our facility's geology lesson was highly relevant to what the earth science classes were studying and that the visit gave students a real-world understanding.Visits such as these are able to show students the practical applications of what they learn and how it can be applied in the real world on an industry-wide scale.

The speakers bureau is a program designed to take employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant into classrooms and organizations in surrounding communities to educate them about the work carried out at our facility.

The goals of the bureau are to

  • Raise public awareness about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant 
  • Increase public understanding about the work done at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant 
  • Provide positive role models

Hernandez said that students in her classroom have been commenting about how much they enjoyed the visit and how much they learned from it.

“Visiting with a person from our community and a company that explores these exact concepts and that was willing to take time to come into the classroom was a bonus. I look forward to more of these collaborations that benefit students,” she concluded.