Each student was matched with a Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) employee from a wide variety of professions to include archaeologists, biologists, engineers, computer programmers and safety personnel.
“This could have a tremendous impact on many of these students,” said SRNS engineer A.D. Bollig who partnered with SRNS Education Outreach to organize the event. “For some, this is an important affirmation of their current career choice. For others, as a result of today’s experience, alternative occupations will need to be considered.”
SRS Job Shadow Day program coordinator Gladys Moore noted that these young people met with talented employees who really care about their academic future and resulting careers.
“At the very least, they are receiving advice and life lessons from wise employees who have years of workforce experience,” said Moore. “We had SRNS professionals volunteer from across the site to include those from A, B, C, H, K, L and N Areas. The high level of commitment to assist these young adults was impressive.”
Two of the 25 students participating in the event included Aiken High School juniors Izzy Pyle and Jared Kekelak, both highly interested in occupations involving science.
“My biggest goals for Jared and Izzy were to help them gain an appreciation for the diverse and important work SRS does for our nation and to show them how a technical education opens doors for a varied and exciting career,” said their mentor for the day, SRNS engineer Sam McGill. “Each job is important to the success of the workplace – no matter the college major they choose, there’s a challenging and fulfilling career that is within reach for insightful students like Jared and Izzy.”
Moore stated that a plan to make this an annual event will be studied and evaluated over the next few months. “Accomplishing this goal will require the continued support of volunteers like those who recently worked so hard for us and the students,” she said.
Towards the end of her day exploring SRS, Pyle shared that as a result of this job shadowing experience, she is now considering a career in engineering, a shift from her previous plans to pursue a major in biology or ecology.
“This was a valuable experience for me,” said Pyle. “It’s been interesting to learn about the transuranic and low-level waste programs at SRS. We also received an important insight into the careers of the people who work here.”
The primary goal of the SRNS Educational Outreach organization is to enhance interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology and to support improvements in education in the Central Savannah River Area by using the unique resources available at the Savannah River Site.