High school students rewarded for nuclear-themed essays

May 2, 2023, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (CNTA), a charitable nuclear educational organization based in Aiken, S.C., has announced the winners of its 17th annual High School Essay Contest. The contest was open to high school juniors and seniors in Aiken, Allendale, and Barnwell counties in South Carolina and Burke, Columbia, and Richmond counties in Georgia, as well as homeschool students in the region and students of CNTA member families.

The envelope, please: The top winner was Kaeleigh Seigler of Aiken Scholars Academy, who won $1,000 for her essay “Nuclear Technology in Medicine.” There were two $750 winners: Alya Akhtar of Lakeside High School for her essay “Nuclear Technology Revolutionizing Today and Tomorrow’s Medicine,” and Monica Burns of Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School for “Nuclear Technology in the Medical Industry.”

In addition to the top three winners, seven other students received a prize of $500 for their essay efforts:

  • Blaise Bell of Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School for “How Nuclear Technology has Improved the Medical Field.”
  • Paige Dayton of South Carolina Governor’s School for “Nuclear Science in Medicine.”
  • Treshon Hinkins of Lucy C. Laney High School for “Impact of Nuclear Technology on Medicine.”
  • John Ledbetter of South Aiken High School for “Clean Energy Sources and Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”
  • Kaitlyn Redd of Williston Elko High School for “Nuclear Technology in the Medical Field.”
  • Maria Reyes of Mead Hall Episcopal School for “Nuclear Medicine and How It Saves Lives.”
  • Alan Sairany of Greenbrier High School for “The Impacts and Implications of Nuclear Energy on Emerging Technologies.”

Marissa Reigel, chair of the CNTA Essay Committee, praised all the student participants, saying, “We were very impressed with the quality of the essays we received from all the students this year. It was exciting to see the breadth of information the students included in their essays.”

Concerned “Citizens”: The CNTA was formed in 1991 by a group of citizens and companies in the central Savannah River region of South Carolina and Georgia. It is a self-described grassroots organization that is “pronuclear and proud of it. We carry out educational programs to provide factual information about the benefits and risks of nuclear technologies and the Savannah River Site.” The CNTA also advocates for new missions to “keep SRS viable well into the 21st century.”

The organization established the essay contest in 2006 to increase awareness among area students of nuclear technologies and their impacts on society. Over the years, the organization has awarded more than $70,000 to contest participants.

For this year’s contest, students could choose from one of three topics on which to write:

  • “Discuss at least two uses of nuclear technology in medicine and their impact on the medical industry.”
  • “Discuss the differences in greenhouse gas generation between these [various energy] sources and nuclear energy. Consider the ‘cradle-to-grave’ cycle of each energy source.”
  • “Discuss the use of nuclear technology in emerging technologies and the potential impacts of these uses on society.”

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