Students learn how STEM skills lead to rewarding careers
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Y-12 National Security Complex hosted approximately 600 female high-school students from 18 area schools on Thursday as part of Introduce a Girl to Engineering day. The goal of the event was to inspire girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This program expands Consolidated Nuclear Security’s existing relationships with area schools to develop the future workforce.
Kristin Waldschlager, CNS educational outreach specialist, said educating this generation about STEM-related opportunities is “crucial” for Y-12. “We have a sense of responsibility to make sure we support the development and growth of future scientists and engineers who could be working here,” she said.
Y-12 Deputy Site Manager Amy Wilson and Senior Director of Y-12 Engineering Susan Kozemko spoke with the students about career opportunities in science and engineering. Wilson welcomed the young women and provided information about Y-12’s mission before introducing Kozemko. In her presentation, Kozemko said, “What engineers really do is create. It’s safe to say that almost everything human-made was created by an engineer.”
From watching a 3-D printer at work to competing with custom-made marshmallow launchers, the students were able to explore more than a dozen engineering disciplines at exhibits set up in the site’s New Hope Center.
This was the first time the event was held in person at Y-12 since 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CNS provided virtual opportunities for students and educators to engage with Y-12 experts. “It was great to welcome the students back,” said Waldschlager. “There’s nothing like the energy and excitement of this day, and nothing better than seeing a young woman realize the STEM career opportunities available right here in East Tennessee.”