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More than 1,700 students participated in the Portsmouth Site’s Science Alliance event.
More than 1,700 students participated in the Portsmouth Site’s Science Alliance event.

PIKETON, Ohio – More than 1,700 high school students from 31 southern Ohio high schools attended DOE’s Science Alliance event at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant earlier this month.

   The annual program consists of demonstrations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to educate students about the Portsmouth Site and STEM careers.

   “We had an opportunity to expand the amount of students who got the opportunity to come here because it’s been such a successful event and because of the great feedback we’ve received from our students,” said Alissa Putnam, Chillicothe High School’s director of curriculum and instruction. “It really gets our students exposure to multiple fields of science and STEM-related careers.”

   The demonstrations focused on the nuclear fuel cycle, plant history, and environmental stewardship with interactive activities. Students also learned about regional universities and EM contractors working at the site.

EM’s Jud Lilly directs a demonstration on the nuclear fuel cycle as part of Science Alliance.
EM’s Jud Lilly directs a demonstration on the nuclear fuel cycle as part of Science Alliance.

   Universities represented include Ohio University, Ohio University-Chillicothe, Ohio Christian University, Ohio State University, Rio Grande University, Shawnee State University, Southern States Community College, and Wilberforce University.

   EM prime contractors (Fluor-BWXT, Restoration Services, Portsmouth Mission Alliance, Mid-America Conversion Services, and Wastren Advantage) helped execute the event. Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board and the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative participated.  

   “We started working on this project in 2010, and we’re proud of how it has grown thanks to the hard work of a lot of plant personnel and partners in local education,” said EM program analyst Greg Simonton of the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. “We believe we are providing opportunities for young people and changing lives.”