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E3 Program Helps Teachers Bring Engineering Concepts into the Classroom

August 7, 2012

    The Nuclear Power Institute sponsored two high-school teachers to participate in this year's Enrichment Experiences in Engineering (E3) Program during the month of June in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. The teachers were Heidi Elliott from El Campo High School and Doug Ogletree from Glen Rose High School. The E3 Program brought a total of 15 STEM teachers from all over Texas to College Station to spend four weeks participating in real world engineering and science research. The goal of the program is to better prepare the teachers to introduce engineering concepts to their students and help students to have a better understanding of engineering with the hope of encouraging them to consider engineering as a career. The E3 Program is sponsored by NPI, the National Science Foundation, Chevron, and the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University.


    This summer Heidi and Doug worked with Drs. Kurwitz and Shao, respectively, of the Texas A&M Department of Nuclear Engineering. Heidi investigated some of the engineering issues which are associated with measuring the volume of fluids inside containers in a zero-gravity environment. Doug began investigating the impact on long-term storage of fuel rod cladding material due to radiation. In the above picture, Doug Ogletree is shown slicing a thin sample of Zircaloy-4 on a diamond saw while preparing a sample for irradiation. In both cases the teachers also developed teaching modules to be used in their classes which would exemplify some of the engineering methodologies that they practiced in their research.


    In addition to the normal one month of activities of the E3 program, the NPI sponsored teachers each spent two weeks at the nuclear power plants near their homes. That was the South Texas Project for Heidi and the Comanche Peak plant for Doug. While at the power plants, they enjoyed first-hand experience of what it is like to work at a plant including their culture of safety, some of the on-going training of employees and the opportunity to shadow some of the workers on their jobs.


    Doug Ogletree and Reci Brooks, POWER SET sponsor, at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.
    At Comanche Peak, Ogletree and Brooks were introduced to the vast number of career opportunities and skills needed to work at a nuclear facility. The information learned at Comanche Peak will be used to inform students and faculty of the career opportunities that exist in our own back yard.

    High School STEM Teachers to Receive an Engineering Experience