During National Engineers Week, Pantex Outreach and Leadership Organization visited Amarillo ISD schools and shared information on the field of engineering. Using simple and fun engineering activities, they taught students what it means to be an engineer and how they might reach that goal.
More than 200 students from 58 middle school and high school teams across the Texas Panhandle and South Plains gathered together for a competition of the minds in February at Science Bowl 2019.
Set up like a game show complete with buzzers and toss up and bonus questions, this competition saw teams of four students plus an alternate go head to head with competitors at the Pantex Regional Science Bowls held at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. Teams from 13 schools competed in the middle school competition held February 9, and 14 high schools were represented at the high school competition held February 23.
Ascension Academy took home top honors at the middle school competition, and Lubbock High Westerners placed first at the high school competition, each winning $1,000 for their science departments and all expense paid trips to Washington, D.C. and the National Science Bowl competition. This is Lubbock High’s second year in a row to claim the top spot in high school competition.
More than 150 volunteers give of their time two Saturdays each February to make these events a success. Each of the 15 competition rooms are staffed with of a moderator, timekeeper, rules judge, science judge, and runner, in addition to many other volunteers behind the scenes who set up and take down competition rooms, tabulate scores, check in teams, take photos and video, and keep things running smoothly.
Pantex has sponsored the regional competitions for more than 25 years with a goal to provide STEM opportunities for students in the Panhandle and South Plains.
Throughout National Engineers week, February 17-23, Pantex celebrated with internal and external engineering-focused activities. From engineers reaching out to students, to students showing off their skills to Pantexans, Engineers Week was a time to celebrate whether you’re an engineer or not.
Perhaps the most talked about Engineers Week event was the robotics demonstration by the Bushland Independent School District robotics team. Three Bushland teams, one each from elementary, middle school, and high school, showcased their latest robots in the John C. Drummond Center Cafeteria on February 19. Pantexans stopped by to talk with the budding engineers and see their robots in action.
“We’re happy and excited to show off what we do,” Christina Butler, robotics coordinator at Bushland, said. “Pantex gave us numerous grants to help us start the program up, which has been phenomenal.”
Since 2015, CNS has given $30,000 to Bushland Robotics. The sponsorship aims to give more STEM opportunities to students. Because of the program, Bushland participates in the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Texas robotics competition — an advantage they do not waste. Their middle school and high school teams advanced to the state competition this year.
Supply Chain Management hosted a Partners in Excellence workshop at Pantex for construction contractors in specific trades needed to support future work. Representatives from 14 businesses attended the workshop.
Consolidated Nuclear Security employees shared information including opportunities; environment, safety and health; quality assurance; safeguards and security; and information protection to inform the participants on the requirements to perform work at each site. A comprehensive review of the request for proposal process, including terms and conditions and site requirements, was conducted to provide potential new bidders insight into how to submit a compliant proposal.
Cindy Morgan, director of Enterprise Business Management, said these workshops are an important form of outreach to the supply base. "Working with a government contractor and on a government site demands compliance with requirements beyond those seen in typical industrial environments," she said. "It’s vital for us to proactively share that information with the suppliers that can provide goods and services to support our mission."
Amarillo's women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM fields, encouraged the next generation at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day conference sponsored by Pantex and Region 16 Education Service Center Feb. 21.
Nearly 300 girls in grades 8-12 from area schools took part in interactive presentation booths designed to encourage their interest in engineering and other technical fields. Students also attended plenary sessions led by professionals from Pantex, Bell, Xcel Energy, and West Texas A&M University, who encouraged them to consider STEM curriculum in their future career choices.
Pantex Deputy Site Manager Corey Strickland, who spoke at the event, said, “It was so exciting to see so many young women interested in learning more about STEM curriculum. Due to the nature of our work, Pantex will always have a need for scientists, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, etc. Seeing them participate in tabletop exercises, discussing what studying within the STEM curricula would mean for their career, and listening to their questions during panel discussions made my confidence level soar knowing that these students have a heart for STEM.”
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, Pantex Women in Nuclear, Pantex Outreach and Leadership Organization, and Region 16 hosted the conference as part of a week-long celebration for National Engineers Week.