SC State Marching 101 Band performs at the 2022 Orangeburg Christmas Parade

The Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC Task Order Authorization has awarded South Carolina State University a five-year grant totaling more than $3 million for workforce development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr. Craig Littlejohn, an S.C. State associate professor of industrial engineering, said the money will be used to support two main activities at S.C. State:

• Develop a nuclear engineering and computer science/cyber security-information technology workforce development program meeting SRNS-specific skills requirements.

• Establish the Center for Nuclear Criticality Safety, Radiochemistry and Nuclear Spectroscopy Studies.

The overall goal is to provide education and training in nuclear engineering, cybersecurity and engineering to meet the workforce development needs of DOE/NNSA/SRNS.

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Dr. Frederick M.G. Evans, acting provost and vice president for academic affairs, said exposing students to cutting-edge research will provide a foundation for workforce development.

“The establishment of the Center for Nuclear Criticality Safety, Radiochemistry and Nuclear Spectroscopy Studies will position S.C. State University for positive advancement and growth in the development of new academic programs,” Evans said. “This award further demonstrates the strength of our faculty research capabilities.”

Elbert Malone, S.C. State’s associate provost for sponsored programs and research, said the project will give S.C. State the opportunity to build capacity in radiochemistry and nuclear science and train students in these areas to pursue job opportunities with DOE/NNSA/SRNS.

“This initiative allows South Carolina State University to expand its capacity to compete for federal dollars and other federal opportunities,” Malone said.

S.C. State President Alexander Conyers said the relationship the university enjoys with SRNS is critical to the university’s mission to teach students marketable skills.

“Our STEM programs already benefit tremendously from the financial support and professional expertise afforded by SRNS,” Conyers said. “This grant will allow our College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Transportation to take its commitment to our students’ growth to new levels.

“We are extremely grateful for all the opportunities SRNS provides to our students, and we are committed to making sure these funds are utilized to their maximum potential.”

Littlejohn, the grant’s principal investigator, said the grant is, “perfectly aligned with the university’s goals for recruiting, retention, graduation and post-graduation success.

“One of the strategies to be used to encourage higher participation of students in STEM fields is to increase the engagement of students in undergraduate research and educational experiences with a direct correlation to SRNS. This includes increased interaction with professionals in these areas.”

The project will provide quality interactions with professionals from SRNS. Course instruction is to be integrated with DOE field work, laboratories and applied research work.

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