AIKEN, S.C. – An EM contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) has supported more than 200 students from eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout South Carolina since January 2020.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) has also donated $80,500 to South Carolina HBCUs since it became the SRS management and operations contractor in 1989, with the majority of those donations made in recent years.
SRNS has partnered with HBCUs to:
- Host virtual workshops for an SRS internship program ranging from resume writing and interview preparation to professional branding;
- Provide virtual one-on-one resume writing session for students;
- Mentor Claflin University students to prepare for future internships;
- Donate laptops to Morris College students during the COVID-19 pandemic for off-campus study;
- Facilitate the Clinton College Capital Building Campaign initiative.
“COVID-19 could not quell our desire to strengthen relationships with South Carolina’s HBCUs,” said Sean Alford, SRNS executive vice president. “We rigorously pursued and assisted talented students from these storied schools, encouraging each to be a part of our rapidly growing workforce and missions at the Savannah River Site.”
SRNS also helped develop other initiatives involving local HBCUs:
- A cohort of production operators from Morris College;
- Radiation control and nuclear fundamentals programs at Denmark Technical College.
“The memorandum of understanding program with SRNS is valuable to our institution and students as it allows for a wide range of opportunities,” said Karina Liles, interim chair and associate professor for the Claflin University Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. “It also offers additional pathways to explore for those attending Claflin, including careers they may not have realized existed. Further, it creates development and collaboration opportunities for our faculty and SRNS personnel.”
In addition to formal programs and paid on-the-job training through internships and apprenticeships, SRNS personnel have supported events that encourage casual conversations about professional development, such as a recent “Fireside Chat” sponsored by the South Carolina HBCU Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Program.
“There is a lot of talent at these colleges and the major difference between HBCUs and other South Carolina universities is access and opportunities for students. And we’re here to stand in the gap where we can help them find inexpensive local housing and the hourly pay needed to cover miscellaneous expenses,” said Anitra McManus, SRNS talent management specialist. “I take my role of helping HBCU students across South Carolina personally because I was one of those students. I never dreamed that one day I would have a career at SRS. One of my goals is to share this type of opportunity with each HBCU student I meet.”
Computer science engineering major Kurt Abraham, a sophomore at Claflin College, said the mentoring experience at SRS provided a great opportunity to network with employees from SRNS and receive assistance to improve his resume.
“I learned how to refine my resume as I continue to attain accomplishments,” Abraham said. “It was an honor to have access to such networking opportunities.”
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