>> Science, Technology Teachers Train at STP
Science, Technology Teachers Train at STP
July 29, 2014
News from the South Texas
High school teachers and counselors are instrumental in helping
students maneuver their futures. Many students don't know - or have
even thought about - what they will do when they leave high
But teachers understand how important it is for the students to
make good decisions about their future - and they strive to be
informed about the choices available so they can help students make
About 400 to 500 workers will leave the South Texas Project over
the next five years - many of whom are retiring after more than 20
years with the company. This information - and the need for a
technically trained workforce to replace those who are leaving -
was an exciting message to the four high school math and science
teachers visiting the site.
STP hosts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
teachers each summer as part of its Workforce Development plan,
coordinated by Clarence Fenner, Workforce Development. The effort
familiarizes the teachers with the nuclear industry and STP's
career opportunities. The teachers, in turn, pass on to their
students their knowledge of the nuclear energy industry and the
type of career opportunities that are available.
"It has really opened our eyes," said Kelle Kipping, a high
school counselor at Foster High School in Richmond. "I've learned
so much -- I didn't know much about nuclear."
The group was more familiar with the chemical industry, said
Kelly Bertsch, a math and technology teacher at Sweeny High
"Last summer we went to Phillips 66. I was more familiar with
the chemical industry, because of its proximity to Sweeny," Bertsch
said. "I wanted to learn about nuclear so I could pass on the
information to my students - give them more choices."
At STP, the STEM teachers participate in a rigorous two-week
program that this year included INPO nuclear professional training,
visits with International Atomic Energy Agency representatives and
a Kenyan delegation, dosimetry training - dressing out included -
metrology lab, security and plant protection, a plant tour and
media training that included interviewing tips.
They also toured Brazosport College, Wharton County Junior
College and the Joint Information Center and will observe the Red
Team tabletop drill.
The group said they were surprised at how much electricity was
produced at STP - enough to light 1 million Texas homes - and that
20 percent of the electricity produced in Texas comes from nuclear
They also were surprised to see how incredibly safe and clean
the plant is.
"I knew it had to be safe, but the level of safety is amazing,"
Kipping said. "It's layers on layers of safety."
The group also learned about a new science they were not aware
"Metrology - the study of measurement - was new to me," said
Savannah Staff, a biology, anatomy and physiology teacher at
Tidehaven High School. "I learned that there are not very many
people who enter the metrology field. The STP metrology employees
were very smart - crazy smart."
"It was exciting to see that there really is a job for any
interest," said Paula Brooks, an algebra teacher at Sweeny High
School. "There's a little bit of everything - it's a