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Impacting the scientific mission through robust STEM education programs

ORAU manages an array of science education and workforce development programs for students, researchers and educators

Students with Sprout wind turbine

To advance the science education mission of DOE’s Office of Science and support the U.S. global competitiveness effort, specifically in STEM-related fields, ORAU manages an array of science education and workforce development programs and events for students, recent graduates, faculty, teachers, and postdoctoral researchers through DOE’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and ORAU’s Center for Science Education. These activities are either directly DOE-funded and mission-focused or represent strategic partnerships with other federal agencies, research laboratories, state programs and corporations.

These efforts to positively impact science education at all levels included ORAU’s management of a series of research participation and professional development programs as well as workshops, academies, and competitions, such as the examples highlighted here.

Science Education Program Participant

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Highlighted research participation/professional development programs

Program Participants Sponsor(s)
Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program Graduate students DOE
Mickey Leland Fellowship Program Undergraduate and graduate students DOE
ORNL Carbon Fiber Technology Program Trainees DOE-ORNL
Savannah River National Laboratory Program Postdoctoral researchers DOE-SRNL
Army Research Laboratory Program Postdoctoral researchers DOD
Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy Educators State of Tennessee

Highlighted academies/competitions/workshops

Developing workforce for carbon fiber jobs through specialized training

ORNL Carbon Fiber Technology Program participant

Photo credit: ORNL

ORNL’s new Carbon Fiber Technology Facility is focused on creating carbon fiber at a significantly reduced manufacturing cost. To support this effort, ORAU and Roane State Community College in East Tennessee have partnered with ORNL to provide specialized training as part of an experimental pilot project that aims to re-energize American manufacturing and create new jobs in the field. The project leverages ORNL’s materials science research capability and the college’s ability to train workers using advanced materials technology. ORAU’s science education specialists expanded ORNL’s existing Laboratory Technology Program as a vehicle for identifying, recruiting and administering the appointments of more than 20 participants in 2012, the first year of operation.

Inspiring students in math and science through competitions

DOE National Science Bowl winners

Photo credit: DOE

In 2012, DOE’s Tennessee Science Bowl, which is managed by ORAU, involved more than 300 students, coaches and volunteers from high schools across the state. The winning team went on to compete with 68 other high school teams at the DOE National Science Bowl. More than 14,000 middle and high school students compete in regional tournaments each year, which serve to inspire students in math and science.