The launch of the ANS STEM Academy
The new ANS STEM Academy launched at the end of 2022 encompasses all of the American Nuclear Society’s educational programs. It brings together a state-of-the-art curriculum with nuclear experts and enriches classroom experiences to enable a national expansion of K-12 nuclear science and technology education. The new program strives to serve educators, students, and everyone interested in nuclear science and technology.
The STEM Academy is divided into four subprograms: Navigating Nuclear, Nuclear Ambassadors, Educator Training, and Pathways to Nuclear.
Launched in 2018, Navigating Nuclear: Energizing Our World is ANS’s K-12 nuclear science and energy curriculum, created in partnership with Discovery Education with lead funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. This program was the first step in achieving the goal of reaching as many students and teachers in the country as possible to educate the public about the benefits of nuclear science. The program has reached more than 1.6 million students since its launch.
The Nuclear Ambassadors program is designed to prepare ANS member volunteers to bring nuclear science and technology lessons to students in every grade. ANS works with its vast network of local and student sections to reach as many classrooms as possible. Any ANS member can become a Nuclear Ambassador; email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Educator Training includes the popular in-person workshops at national meetings, but now also includes a virtual series that kicked off in 2022 during Nuclear Science Week. The first webinar, presented by past president Eric Loewen on the basics of nuclear energy, was a very successful event and reached dozens of teachers across the country.
The last program under the STEM Academy is Pathways to Nuclear, a workforce development program that includes written career profiles and the “Spotlight on Nuclear Careers” webinars hosted by ANS’s Young Members Group. The YMG webinars are conducted in a casual fireside chat format with an ANS member in a nuclear-related career. These programs have been popular with more than just the K-12 audience—ANS’s student and young members looking to take the next step in their careers see value in these events, too.
As the nation’s leading organization for professionals and students in the nuclear science and technology community, ANS is in a prime position to be the leader in providing nuclear science and technology educational programs, as well. ANS executive director and CEO Craig Piercy said, “[ANS] is all about using the power of the atom to make people’s lives better.” To accomplish that mission, according to Piercy, ANS focuses on two things: advancing the science and engaging with the public. K-12 education through the STEM Academy is one of the most important ways ANS and its members can engage the public about the benefits of nuclear science and technology.