AIKEN, S.C. – Students from Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, recently toured the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s (EM) Savannah River Site (SRS) to learn about the array of occupations and operations across the 310-square-mile environmental reservation.
The environmental management and biology students arrived at the site with a natural interest in its nuclear and environmental restoration missions, Claflin University Assistant Professor Daniel Koenemann said.
“It benefits our students to see exactly where they could apply their future degrees and the job opportunities available in those areas,” said Koenemann. “I thought it was a great trip, and I’m happy we came here today.”
A historically Black university founded in 1869, Claflin is committed to providing students with access to exemplary educational opportunities in its undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.
Jared Wicker, who works in the Environmental Monitoring Program at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), said site tours are beneficial for all involved. SRNS is an EM contractor at SRS.
“Participants can see firsthand emerging scientific technologies being developed at SRS and our commitment to protecting the land and surrounding areas for our employees and our communities,” Wicker said. “By touring the site, participants can get a sense of the wide scope of environmental health and safety programs that we have due to the complexity of our missions, which is not typical in most industrial settings.”
Each student visiting the site is a potential future employee, according to Bryan Ortner, manager of SRNS Talent Acquisition.
“We have several ways to populate our employee pipeline with job candidates, including tours, job fairs and education outreach programs,” Ortner said. “We proactively reach out with the goal of creating a positive impression of our company and the site.”
The one-day event included a driving tour of several facilities supporting a range of missions at SRS. The students also took a walking tour of the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where high-activity liquid waste stored at SRS is converted into a solid glass form suitable for long-term storage and disposal.
“We have a history of partnering with Claflin University to help their students identify and pursue successful careers at SRS,” Ortner said. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship I’m confident will continue to grow.”
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