The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management (LM) Atomic Legacy Cabin (ALC) in Grand Junction, Colorado, celebrated Nuclear Science Week on October 19-23, 2020. Nuclear Science Week is an international, weeklong celebration of local, regional, and international innovations and careers in nuclear science. Communities from across the nation are encouraged to get involved by hosting local events. Nuclear Science Week went virtual this year, posting daily episodes themed around the five pillars of nuclear science: carbon-free energy, global leadership, transformative health care, innovation and technology, and space exploration.
ALC staff reached out to local middle school science teachers to take part in the online Radiation – Energy in Motion program. Included in the program were an educational packet and video designed to educate students about radiation, featuring LM Public Participation Specialist Shawn Montgomery and LM Strategic Partner Radiation Control Manager Michael McDonald.
In addition to online content, ALC staff provided printed packets and custom giveaway bags to seven middle schools in the Grand Valley, including private and non-traditional schools. Through this nontraditional outreach, LM virtually reached nearly 450 middle school students in their science classrooms.
“Given the pandemic this year, it’s certainly created some difficulty teaching STEM topics in both an in-person and online format,” said Maria Deuel, the coordinator of innovative programs for Mesa County Valley School District 51. “We really appreciate LM creating and offering a virtual STEM program for all our middle school learners.”
The week kicked off with a public proclamation presented by the Mesa County Board of Commissioners. This is the second year LM has received proclamations from the city of Grand Junction and Mesa County officially declaring Nuclear Science Week.
“I’m always so impressed with the support we receive from our Mesa County Commissioners and the city of Grand Junction for this event,” Montgomery said. “This year has taught us all to be flexible, adaptable, and most importantly, patient. This was a team effort, and we were glad we could still celebrate Nuclear Science Week this year and have the opportunity to virtually connect with STEM-minded students in the community.”
In a time of social distancing and virtual learning, LM is committed to continue its support of educators and students around the country who focus on STEM education. As communities continue to adapt, LM is committed to adapting with them. Now, more than ever, LM is committed to educating the next generation of STEM professionals.