Staff with the Office of Legacy Management (LM) attended the 2022 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference on Oct. 6-8 in Palm Springs, California.
This is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that LM has attended in person. In the past two years, LM has participated in the conference virtually. The AISES National Conference is the nation’s largest career and college fair for indigenous STEM students and professionals (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and hosts a variety of exhibitors, including representatives from tribal nations, tribal enterprises, indigenous-owned businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and educational institutions.
The three-day event, with special activities before and after the main conference, attracts visitors from throughout the United States and Canada. More than 2,000 people attended the conference, with at least 180 exhibits and more than 100 sessions.
This year, LM’s Ken Kreie, Angelita Denny, and Shawn Montgomery arrived early to participate in the STEM Activity Day on Oct. 5.
This interactive STEM event included hands-on activities, exciting challenges, and a chance to win a variety of prizes. STEM Day, sponsored by the Boeing Company, also featured a marketplace for students to learn more about AISES opportunities and gain professional skills such as résumé building and college application tips; about 250 middle and high school students attended the event.
“We are excited to be able to continue to participate in this conference and interact with STEM students in person this year,” said LM Senior Public Affairs Specialist Shawn Montgomery. “This is one of our favorite conferences, and we always look forward to showcasing our work within STEM with LM and with our tribal partners.”
During this year’s STEM Activity Day, LM hosted a “Radiation 101” booth, which taught students about what radiation is, where it comes from, and understanding dose and regulatory limits. The booth also shed light on how radiation can be helpful when used in medication, clean energy, and space exploration.
Participants were given digital friskers to scan common items, such as smoke detectors, cellphones, and batteries, for radiation. Personal protective gear was provided by LM staff for attendees to take a “Rad” selfie. Throughout the day, about 100 STEM students and educators took advantage of the unique photo opportunity and interactive learning experience.
“While this is a simple activity, it encourages students to think about how radiation is a part of our everyday lives,” Montgomery said. “Not only does it emit from places like the sun, rocks, and soils, but it even occurs naturally in materials like bananas and Brazil nuts.”
LM site managers Angelita Denny and Ken Kreie joined Montgomery, along with support contractors, in answering questions about internship and STEM opportunities with the Department of Energy at the College and Career fair on Oct. 7.
“My favorite part of attending AISES is volunteering in the résumé room, where I get to meet students and find out about their diverse backgrounds, passions and college/career plans,” Kreie said. “It always renews my faith that our future is in good hands.”
“The National AISES conference is a great opportunity for the LM/LMS team to make valuable educational connections with students and attendees,” Denny added.
The conference wrapped up with an awards ceremony banquet with live entertainment and the traditional AISES Powwow. The next AISES National Conference will take place in Spokane, Washington, in October 2023.