Office of Environmental Management

More Than 3,500 Students Explore Engineering With WIPP Workers

April 2, 2019

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Nuclear Waste Partnership Fire Marshal Brenda Larsen discusses fire protection engineering at Hobbs Freshman School in Hobbs, New Mexico during Engineers Week.
Nuclear Waste Partnership Fire Marshal Brenda Larsen discusses fire protection engineering at Hobbs Freshman School in Hobbs, New Mexico during Engineers Week.

CARLSBAD, N.M. – Employees of Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), the management and operations contractor at EM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), recently participated in Engineers Week events, providing presentations to over 3,500 students from kindergarten to high school.

   NWP Fire Marshal Brenda Larsen was among 30 employees who volunteered during Engineers Week. She, along with Mike Oliveri and Larry Bryant, discussed fire protection engineering and the role it plays in everyday safety.

   “We conducted several experiments to explain the concepts we were discussing to the students,” Larsen said. “Fire protection engineering has life safety at the root of the career field and encompasses fire suppression systems, fire alarm systems, etc.”

Students from Joe Stanley Smith Elementary in Carlsbad take a closer look at a Crookes radiometer. Also known as a light mill, the vanes of the radiometer spin when exposed to light, providing a quantitative measurement of electromagnetic radiation.
Students from Joe Stanley Smith Elementary in Carlsbad take a closer look at a Crookes radiometer. Also known as a light mill, the vanes of the radiometer spin when exposed to light, providing a quantitative measurement of electromagnetic radiation.

Employees incorporated hands-on activities into their demonstrations, which ranged from measuring radioactivity using common household items to piloting a robot.

   At the conclusion of the events, employees had volunteered over 100 hours and visited 15 schools. They discussed what they liked most about the experience.

   “The best part of Engineers Week is getting to see kids excited about science and eager to learn,” NWP Central Characterization Program Site Project Manager Alyssa Hendren said.

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