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PNNL Link to MESA Stronger Than Ever

Sandra Fiskum and Kelly Byrne demonstrate how to use a geiger counter to detect radiation.More than 150 local students attended the Yakima Valley Tri-Cities MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Middle School Conference at Sierra Vista Middle School Nov. 23, with financial support from Battelle and four PNNL staff serving as volunteer presenters.

Presenters from PNNL included Sandra Fiskum and Kelly Byrne ("Tickling atom guts"); Steve Ghan ("What you can do about climate change"); and Carlos Fraga ("Solving crimes with chemistry"). The students were exposed to a wealth of STEM subjects, including engineering, computers, geology, basic science and architecture.

Judging from student feedback, the annual STEM conference was a huge success. According to one attendee, "I liked the conference because I have a better idea of what to learn for different jobs."
Another student said, "I liked the hands on activities. It was very interactive.' 'I would recommend this to other students because you have an opportunity to try different career options."

MESA encourages students who are traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering (women, Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans) to succeed in STEM subjects and careers. PNNL takes a leadership role with MESA in an effort to increase the diversity of our own employee pipeline.

If you would like to help with or present at an upcoming MESA activity, contact Kathy Feaster Alley.